It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Joost. He passed away in his home surrounded by his loved ones.
He will be sorely missed
Former Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen has been rushed to hospital in a critical condition‚ his J9 Foundation confirmed on Facebook on Saturday.
South African rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen has died at the age of 45 following a long battle with motor neurone disease #SSRugby
— SuperSport Blitz (@SuperSportBlitz) February 6, 2017
Terribly sad to report Springbok legend Joost van der Westhuizen has passed away at just 45. Our deep condolences to his family and friends pic.twitter.com/4lEWqzhB4G
— Rugby World (@Rugbyworldmag) February 6, 2017
— SportsJOE.ie (@SportsJOEdotie) February 6, 2017
“The family and friends of Joost ask that you all pray for Joost. He was taken to hospital earlier today and is in a critical condition‚” the post read.
It asked that Van der Westhuizen and his family be respected during this difficult time.
“Please keep Joost in your prayers‚” it added.
Joost van der Westhuizen (born 20 February 1971) is a South African former rugby union player who played as a scrum-half for the national team. He represented South Africa in 89 test matches, scoring 38 tries, and was a member of the victorious South African rugby team at the 1995 World Cup. He was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2007, and became a member of the World Rugby Hall of Fame when the International Hall was merged with the IRB Hall of Fame in 2014.
His playing honours include the World Cup (1995), the Tri-Nations title (1998), two domestic Currie Cup trophies (1998 & 2002), and he was a member of the South African Rugby team at three Rugby World Cups (1995, 1999, 2003).
In 2011, Van der Westhuizen announced that he had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a form of motor neurone disease (MND). He actively campaigns for issues relating to MND through the J9 Foundation, a charity devoted to MND issues.
#JoostVanDerWesthuizen Former Springbok captain Corne Krige has wished Joost van der Westhuizen a speedy recovery. KHM
— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) February 4, 2017
Christ has set us free. pic.twitter.com/sRj4nDKy3c
— JESUS SAVES (@Godly_Life) February 3, 2017