Former South African rugby captain Joost van der Westhuizen dies at 45

Former South African captain Joost van der Westhuizen has died aged 45, six years after he was diagnosed with the debilitating motor neurone disease.

Former South African captain Joost van der Westhuizen dies at 45

Van der Westhuizen won the World Cup with the Springboks in 1995.

Regarded as one of the finest scrum-halves in history, he won 89 international caps between 1993 and 2003, scoring 38 tries.

He captained the Springboks for four years, including at the 1999 World Cup, before his retirement in 2003.

Van der Westhuizen was admitted to hospital in Johannesburg on Saturday, when he was said to be in a “critical condition”.

“Joost will be remembered as one of the greatest Springboks – not only of his generation, but of all time,” said South Africa Rugby president Mark Alexander.

“He also became an inspiration and hero to many fellow sufferers of this terrible disease as well as to those unaffected.

“We all marvelled at his bravery, his fortitude and his uncomplaining acceptance of this terrible burden.”

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