Joost Van der Westhuizen, a World Cup winner with the Springboks in 1995, was diagnosed with the debilitating motor neurone disease in 2011.
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.
— Dan Carter (@DanCarter) February 6, 2017
South Africa rugby president Mark Alexander: “Joost will be remembered as one of the greatest Springboks – not only of his generation, but of all-time,”
— Sir Clive Woodward (@CliveWoodward) February 6, 2017
A great friend has left us with an incredible legacy in rugby. Joost inspired on and off the field. Rest easy blue eyes…. #j9foundation
— Matt Dawson (@matt9dawson) February 6, 2017
Heart breaking to hear that Joost has passed away. A warrior and a gentleman. Let us not forget his spirit and his life. Vei Lomani xx
— Ben Ryan (@benjaminryan) February 6, 2017
Really sad news about Joost van der Westhuizen – I met him at a rugby tournament in Bermuda once
— George Hook (@ghook) February 6, 2017
Rugby has lost a true warrior today – #joostvanderwesthuizen – 1995 World Cup Final – Titanic Individual Performance. Rest in Peace.
— Will Greenwood (@WillGreenwood) February 6, 2017
— Ulrich J van Vuuren (@UlrichJvV) February 6, 2017
— JP Pietersen (@jppietersen14) February 6, 2017
RIP Joost van der Westhuizen, 45.
One of the greatest players to ever grace the game of rugby & a courageous hero off the field too. pic.twitter.com/OhOrhTzL4Y
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 6, 2017
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) 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
— Shane Byrne (@shanebyrneoffic) February 6, 2017
— Lee Dickson (@Dicko9) February 6, 2017
— Ben Kay (@BenKay5) February 6, 2017
A true legend and Champion of the game 🏉🙏🏾❤️ https://t.co/ENywwjNJjx
— ugo monye (@ugomonye) February 6, 2017
— Ben Foden (@ben_foden) February 6, 2017