World Cup-winning South Africa wing James Small has died from a suspected heart attack aged 50.
Small, who was part of the Springboks’ victorious World Cup squad in 1995 and played 47 Tests for his country, was rushed to hospital in Johannesburg on Tuesday night and died on Wednesday.
“James, as a member of the triumphant Rugby World Cup squad from 1995, will always have a special place in the hearts and minds of the South African public and we were devastated to hear of his passing,” said South Africa rugby president Mark Alexander.
“He always played with the type of passion and courage that encapsulate what Springbok rugby stands for, and he lived his life in the same way.
“At 50 years old, James Small died too young. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends during this very sad time.”
Small made his international debut against New Zealand in Johannesburg in 1992, scoring 20 Test tries for the Springboks, including one in his final Test in 1997 against Scotland.
On hearing the news, former South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs tweeted: “Just heard the sad news about the ex-Springboks winger James Small who passed away today, really sad. RIP big man!”
Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen called Small his childhood “rugby hero”, while World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper also added his condolences.
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