Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir has died aged 52 following a prolonged battle with Motor Neurone Disease.
The former rugby player was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2016 and spent the rest of his life campaigning to raise funds for research into the illness.
His charity, founded in 2017, My Name’5 Doddie has raised more than £8m to fund research and support programmes for MND sufferers.
The charity work, as well as services to rugby and the Scottish Borders community, earned him an OBE in 2019.
A statement from the Weir family said: “It is with great sadness 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 (Motor Neurone Disease) for so many years.
“Doddie put the same energy and even more love and fun into our lives together: he was a true family man. Whether working together on the farm, on holiday, or celebrating occasions with wider family and friends, Doddie was always in the thick of it. We are lucky to have shared our lives with him and we cherish those memories: his love and warmth, his support and advice, his quick wit, and his terrible jokes. It is difficult to put into words how much we will miss him.
“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.
“Hamish, Angus, Ben and I would like to thank everyone for your support and for respecting our privacy at this difficult time.”
Tributes have been paid to “the force of nature” former rugby player who raised millions to take the world closer to the day when sufferers can finally take the fight to MND.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said he was “one of our nation’s sporting legends”.
“This is so terribly sad… but the brave way he responded to MND surpassed anything ever achieved on the rugby pitch,” she said.
“He refused to let it dim his spirit and did so much to help others. My condolences to his loved ones.”
Will and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales, said Weir “was a hero”.
“We are so sad to hear of his passing,” they said in a tweet.
“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.”