LIFESTYLE

Public Memorial For Joost Van Der Westhuizen As Tributes From Bonang, Hugh Laurie, Madonsela Pour In

Family, friends and fans have taken to social media to pay homage to the rugby legend.

07/02/2017 09:09 SAST | Updated 07/02/2017 13:16 SAST
Ian Waldie / Reuters
A jubilant South African scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen (L) congratulates teammate Joel Stransky (R) after Stransky scored a try during their Rugby World Cup opener against Australia, 25 May. South Africa defeated the defending champions 27-18

According to a post on Joost Van der Westhuizen's J9 Foundation's Facebook page, a public memorial service for the rugby legend will be held at Loftus Versveld in Pretoria at 12:30pm on Friday, February 10, 2017. The stadium is home to the Blue Bulls rugby franchise and is the only provincial team Van der Westhuizen ever played for.

Tributes to Springbok the rugby legend are pouring in on social networks following his death on Monday. The former scrum half and Springbok captain had been battling motor neuron disease for the past six years and finally succumbed to his illness after being rushed to hospital on Saturday morning. He was 45 years old.

Van der Westhuizen's decade-long career on the international rugby stage saw him capped 89 times and he was a integral to the Springboks' 1995 Rugby World Cup win. Messages of condolences and tribute have come in from all over the world, from Springbok fans and fans of the game alike, paying homage to his legacy.

The famous scrumhalf was also known as the man who brought down formidable former All Blacks number 8 Jonah Lomu in an iconic tackle in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final. The two players developed a friendship that lasted beyond the final whistle of that game and were last seen together when Lomu visited South Africa in 2015 to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the tournament that catapulted him into the international rugby spotlight. Lomu died in November 2015 after suffering from nephrotic syndrome - a rare kidney disorder.

Van der Westhuizen is survived by his two children, Jordan and Kylie, and ex-wife Amore Vittone. The couple divorced in 2010 and had previously been under scrutiny following the leak of Van der Westhuizen involved in a drug-fuelled sex video with a woman called Marilize van Emmenis.

But in the years that followed, Vittone and Van der Westhuizen remained close, raising their children together. In a post on her Facebook page Vittone said that Van der Westhuizen "was and is her first love" and that he was part of her and their children's daily lives.