as informed in 9s(CNN) Joost van der Westhuizen finally lost his brave battle with a body-wasting disease, but his powerful legacy lives on in modern rugby.
Wheelchair-bound and barely able to talk in his later years, the South Africa legend passed away Monday aged 45.
Photos: Remembering a rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen, widely considered one of South Africa’s finest rugby players, died on February 6 after a long battle with motor neurone disease.
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At the time of his retirement, van der Westhuizen was the most-capped player in Springboks history.
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Joost van der Westhuizen, South Africa rugby great, dies aged 45
Joost van der Westhuizen, the South African Rugby World Cup winner, has died aged 45.
“As a player, he lifted the Rugby World Cup, Tri-Nations and Currie Cup while establishing himself as one of the best scrum-halves world rugby has ever seen.
Brian O’Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) RIP Joost van der Westhuizen.
Joost van der Westhuizen obituary Read more“He also became an inspiration and hero to many fellow sufferers of this terrible disease as well as to those unaffected.
Van der Westhuizen is regarded as one of the finest scrum-halves in the history of the game, having won 89 caps between 1993 and 2003.
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Joost van der Westhuizen, South Africa rugby legend, dies aged 45 after seven-year battle with motor neurone disease
Rugby was united in mourning on Monday after Joost van der Westhuizen, an icon of South Africa’s World Cup victory in 1995, finally lost his brave fight against motor neurone disease aged 45.
Van der Westhuizen won 89 caps for the Springboks scoring scored an astonishing 38 tries, a record that wing Bryan Habana only recently surpassed.
Typical of the man, Van der Westhuizen defied the doctors’ predictions to hold on for six years, all the while raising funds for fellow suffers of this vicious disease through his charity, the J9 Foundation.
His defining contribution came in the 1995 World Cup final against New Zealand in shackling the previously unstoppable All Black wing Jonah Lomu in South Africa’s 15-12 victory.
When the former South Africa scrum half and captain was diagnosed with the MND in 2011, he was given just a couple of years to live.
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