Legendary Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen has died after a long battle with motor neurone disease, writes CRAIG LEWIS of SArugbymag.co.za
Van der Westhuizen, who played 89 Tests for the Boks, passed away on Monday after being rushed to hospital in a critical condition over the weekend. He was 45.
Back in 2011, Van der Westhuizen was diagnosed with the most severe form of motor neurone disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and was given between two and five years to live. Yet, despite the debilitating effects of the neurodegenerative disease, Van der Westhuizen defied those odds, and devoted himself to aiding sufferers of the fatal disease through his formation of the J9 Foundation.
The organisation’s core objectives are to contribute to research and raise awareness, both locally and internationally, for motor neurone disease, while supporting efforts across the globe to find a cure or cause.
Van der Westhuizen’s legacy will live on through the work conducted by the J9 Foundation, while his place in the Springbok history books has long been secured.