Springbok legend van der Westhuizen fights for life

Rugby Union

Springbok legend van der Westhuizen fights for life

Springbok legend van der Westhuizen fights for life

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

AFP

The former scrum-half, who is suffering from motor neurone disease, was rushed to hospital on Saturday. Warriors @ Cavaliers

South African rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen, who is battling motor neurone disease, is in a "critical condition" after he was rushed to hospital on Saturday, his foundation said. The 45-year-old former scrum-half, a Springboks captain who won the 1995 World Cup, was diagnosed with the condition in 2011.

This photo from October 30, 1999 shows South African scrum-half and captain Joost Van Der Westhuizen in action in the Rugby World Cup semi-final match between Australia and South Africa at Twickenham stadium.

Van der Westhuizen rushed to hospital

"He was taken to hospital earlier today and is in a critical condition," his J9 Foundation said in a statement on Facebook.

The incurable disease which damages parts of the nervous system has left van der Westhuizen confined to a wheelchair and he was given two to five years to live when he was diagnosed.

"I realise every day could be my last," he told the BBC in 2013.

Rugby legend

Van der Westhuizen scored 38 Test tries in 89 appearances in the green and gold by the time he retired in 2003.

The iconic rugby player set up the J9 Foundation to promote awareness around motor neurone disease. The Foundation released a statement on Sunday saying: “Joost remains in ICU in a critical but stable condition. He is responding well to his loved ones and putting up an incredible fight. He really is our Superman!

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