Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir has passed away at the age of 62 after a long battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
His family confirmed the news on Sunday (November 27).
Weir earned 61 caps for his country and has been selected for the British and Irish Lions Tour of South Africa in 1997.
He was diagnosed with MND in 2016, a disease that impairs cells in the brain and spinal cord to stop working properly.
It makes activities such as speaking, swallowing, and breathing difficult over time.
Doddie Weir has long been considered a legend of the rugby union world as well as for his contributions outside of the sport.
He set up the ‘My Name’5 Doddie’ foundation which helped raise $9.7 million (£8m) to help fight MND.
He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2019 for his services to rugby, MND research, and to the community within the Scottish borders.
His wife Kathy Weir released a statement via the Scottish Rugby Union website, saying: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father, Doddie.
“Doddie was an inspirational force of nature. His unending energy and drive, and his strength of character powered him through his rugby and business careers and, we believe, enabled him to fight the effects of MND for so many years.”
The statement added: “MND took so much from Doddie, but never his spirit and determination. He battled MND so bravely, and whilst his own battle may be over, his fight continues through his foundation, until a cure is found for all those with this devastating disease.”
Weir took to the field at Murrayfield just two weeks ago to present the match ball at Scotland’s Autumn International against New Zealand.
Current Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie said the moment was one of the most meaningful in his career and maintained how inspirational Doddie was to the Scottish team.
Doddie Weir was a hero - we are so sad to hear of his passing. His immense talent on the pitch as well as his tireless efforts to raise awareness of MND were an inspiration. Our thoughts are with all those who loved him. He will be hugely missed across the entire rugby world. W&C— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) November 26, 2022
We’re sorry to hear that Doddie Weir OBE has died.— MND Association (@mndassoc) November 26, 2022
Since sharing his MND diagnosis in 2017, Doddie became an inspiration to many, raising awareness and campaigning tirelessly on behalf of those with MND.
Our thoughts are with Doddie’s wife Kathy, his 3 sons, family and friends. pic.twitter.com/6h63PzHDin
Incredibly sad to hear about the death of Doddie Weir. A wonderful, funny, warm and courageous man who’ll be deeply missed. pic.twitter.com/bZQ9tVCRxR— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 26, 2022
Doddie Weir epitomized all that’s good in our game. RIP great man pic.twitter.com/mpb7GMNSTu— Jamie Roberts (@Jamiehuwroberts) November 27, 2022
Very sorry to hear about the death of Doddie Weir. An outstanding man in every sense and one who will be sorely missed.— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) November 26, 2022
RIP Big Man.
Scottish Rugby chairman and former teammate of Doddie, John Jeffrey paid tribute to Weir.
He said: “Doddie was ahead of his time as a ball playing second row and for almost a decade he was one of the first names on the Scotland team sheet. He was a great team mate on the pitch and an even greater team mate off the pitch.
“For all that Doddie achieved as a rugby player, his name is associated worldwide with the battle to find a cure for MND.
“For the last six years, Doddie and Kathy have dedicated themselves to not only finding a cure for MND but also caring for fellow sufferers. He raised literally millions for his foundation but, more importantly, raised awareness globally as he courageously battled this cruel disease, and always with a smile on his face.”
There was a minute’s applause at halftime of England’s Autumn International game against South Africa when the news of Weir’s death was announced.
Featured Image Credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd / Alamy. Doug Peters / Alamy.
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