Former Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen will always be remembered as the brilliant scrumhalf who helped South Africa win the 1995 Rugby World Cup, but he will also be acknowledged as the star who taught millions of people about motor neuron disease.
Van der Westhuizen (45) died on Monday, surrounded by his family.
“The family remain strong under the circumstances‚ however are devastated at the loss‚” the J9 foundation’s Claire Kaye-Grobler said on Monday afternoon.
Van der Westhuizen formed the foundation in aid of those suffering from motor neuron disease.
Van der Westhuizen, who was diagnosed with the illness in 2011, played 89 Tests for the Springboks between 1993 and 2003.
He scored a then-Springbok record 38 tries and is widely regarded as one of the game’s finest-ever scrumhalves.
In this Saturday, June 24 1995 photo, Joost van der Westhuizen lets fly a pass during the World Cup final against New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Picture: John Parkin/AP
Joost van der Westhuizen as many South Africans will remember him during his rugby heyday. Picture: The Greatest Springbok Teams
Joost van der Westhuizen in April 2006 with his personalised number plate. Nine was the number on his Springbok shirt. Late last year, the 9-GP number plate was sold at auction for R167 000. Picture: Joyrene Kramer
Joost van der Westhuizen at the final whistle of the Rugby Union World Cup Final between South Africa and the New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on June 24 1995. South Africa won 15-12. Picture: Chris Smith/Popperfoto/Getty Images
Amor and Joost van der Westhuizen during a photo shoot for You and Huisgenoot magazine with their children Jordan (then 2) and newborn Kylie. Picture: Dino Codevilla
Joost van der Westhuizen and his children take to the field during a Castle Lager Rugby Championship match in 2014, when the Springboks played the All Blacks at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg South Africa. Picture: Christiaan Kotze
Joost van der Westhuizen makes an appearance at a “rugby legends” evening at Hoerskool Overkruin in Pretoria in 2016. Picture: Deaan Vivier/Foto24/ NuusNoord
A picture of Joost van der Westhuizen, Amor Vittone and their children Jordan and Kylie, as posted by their mother on Facebook on February 4 2017.