Springboks legend Joost van der Westhuizen fights for his life

Rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen, who is battling with motor neuron 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.

“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. 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.

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

He set up the J9 Foundation to promote awareness about motor neuron disease, research and it’s early detection, according to the J9 website. It supports people through supplying grocery voucher to mobility and communication aids (including ventilators, pec tubes, feeds, wheelchairs, hospital beds and nursing staff.) The sufferer (and the family) get emotional support – a person’s state deteriorates if they are stressed and negative. The J9 has moments of magic, when it can help suffers to fulfill a dream. 

Keep the powerful accountable

Subscribe for R30/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Shabir Madhi: SA scientists were responsible when announcing Omicron

But the virologist urges caution before scientists make blanket public announcements that can lead to ‘hasty’ international decisions

Petrol jumps over R20 a litre inland

Ahead of travel season, Wednesday’s fuel price hike will push the price of petrol – around R19.50 a litre – to above R20 in Gauteng and other inland provinces

The Covid-19 Omicron variant: What is known so far

As scientists scramble to learn more about it, infectious disease expert Professor Salim Abdool Karim says current vaccines are effective against the new variant

Black Friday better than 2020’s but consumer spending remains subdued

The momentous retail spending event, Black Friday, remains relevant in South Africa as total online spend year-on-year increased by 6%

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…