In pictures: Thousands gather to say goodbye to Joost

By Kirstin Buick
10 February 2017

The moving scenes playing out at Loftus.

Up to 15 000 people were expected to attend the memorial service of former Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen on Friday, IOL.co.za estimated.

By 12.20 pm, there weren't 15 000 -- but the green-and-gold-clad mourners that had traveled from far and wide to Lofstus Versveld in Pretoria were die-hard fans, News24 reported. Among them were Joost's nearest and dearest -- including his children Kylie (10) and Jordan (13), and estranged wife Amor, still on crutches after suffering an ankle injury at Jordan's birthday party last month.

Messages from rugby stars from all over the world flashed on big screens around the stadium.

sean

smit

clegg

johnny

The 1995 world cup team, lead by Francois Pienaar and Morne du Plessis, carried Joost’s coffin onto the stage at the centre of the field. The coffin, covered with the national flag, had been at the private service for close friends and family before it was brought to Loftus.

Other celebrities in attendance included former Spirngbok captain John Smit, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and Married with Rugby actor Atlus Theart. The service is currently underway. Francois Pienaar, Joost's brother Pieter van der Westhuizen and Amor Vittone are expected to speak. Artists like PJ Powers and Bob will also be performing in honour of the Bok hero. Joost passed away on Monday after he lost his battle with the debilitating motor neuron disease.

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