The Rugby World Pays Tribute To Joost van der Westhuizen
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‘There are two things we take for granted every day – time and health. The moment you lose them, only then do you wake up.”
Those are the words of legendary Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen, who lost his battle with motor neurone disease disease today at just 45 years of age.
He had been living with motor neurone disease since 2011 and was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital on Saturday morning in critical condition. The incurable disease which damages parts of the nervous system left van der Westhuizen confined to a wheelchair and he was given two to five years to live when he was diagnosed.
Joost will forever be remembered as one of the greatest nines the game has ever seen, and has been credited for ushering in a new age of nines we now see in the modern game.
The rugby world has been united in tribute today following the tragic news.
RIP Joost van der Westhuizen, 1971-2017. Condolences to the family and friends of a true Springbok hero. pic.twitter.com/ZZ7IBEBcyE
— South African Rugby (@Springboks) February 6, 2017
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) February 6, 2017
— British&Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) February 6, 2017
— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) February 6, 2017
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) February 6, 2017
— Rugby Tonight (@RugbyTonight) February 6, 2017
1 World Cup win
4 years as Springbok captain.
A world rugby legend
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 6, 2017
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 6, 2017
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 6, 2017
“There are 2 things we take for granted everyday – time & health. The moment you lose them, then only do you wake up.” Joost vdW. #RIPJoost
— Jean-Marié Stander (@JMNeethling) February 6, 2017
RIP Joost van der Westhuizen. An incredible player and fighter to the end. The first of the new age 9’s.
— Brian O’Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) February 6, 2017