Rugby legend Doddie Weir has died, aged 52, after six-year battle with Motor Neurone Disease.
The former Scotland and Lions player’s death was confirmed by his family this evening.
Since his diagnosis in 2016, he campaigned for greater research and funding to tackle the disease.
Born in Edinburgh, Weir began his career playing for Stewart’s Melville and then Melrose, where he helped the team win six championships.
The lineout specialist’s first Scotland cap came against Argentina in November 1990.
He was Capped 61 times between then and 2000, and became known as one of Scotland’s all-time greats.
Doddie Weir pictured at a match on November 13. Since his diagnosis in 2017, he has campaigned for greater research and funding into the disease
Rugby legend Doddie Weir has died, aged 52, after five-year battle with Motor Neurone Disease
Just last week, Weir delivered the match ball during an Autumn Nations Series game between Scotland and New Zealand at Murrayfield.
After his devastating MND diagnosis, Weir went on to raise millions through his My Name’5 Doddie foundation.
He was given an OBE in 2019 for services to rugby, MND research and to the Borders community, where he lived.
He is survived by his wife Kathy and sons Hamish, Angus and Ben.
Doddie Weir talked to Sportsmail last year about retaining his lust for life – as well as Guinness and wine – despite his ongoing battle with MND
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.
After his devastating MND diagnosis, Weir went on to raise millions through his My Name’5 Doddie foundation
‘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.’
‘Doddie was an inspirational force of nature,’ a statement from his family has said. Standing at 6’6′ and 17 stone in his prime, Weir was a fine competitor for Scotland’s rugby team
His appearance at the start of Scotland’s latest test against the All Blacks mirrored an emotional visit he made with his three sons before his team’s match against the same opponents in autumn 2017.
Scottish Rugby released a statement this evening on social media announcing the tragic news just weeks after the sporting legend made an emotional return to.
Their statement read: ‘We’re devastated to hear of the passing of Doddie Weir.
‘A Scotland legend, his determination to raise awareness & help find a cure for MND epitomised his personality.
‘Our thoughts are with his family, friends, all connected with Scottish Rugby and his charity at this difficult time.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter: ‘This is so terribly sad.
‘Doddie was one of our nation’s sporting legends, but the brave way he responded to MND surpassed anything ever achieved on the rugby pitch.
‘He refused to let it dim his spirit and did so much to help others. My condolences to his loved ones.’
Last year, Weir talked to Sportsmail about retaining his lust for life – as well as Guinness and wine – despite his diagnosis.
‘I have to drink [Guinness] through a straw that’s held for me but it’s my favourite tipple. And the red wine is over there somewhere. I used to go for the £3 to £6 bottles. Now, with time not on my side, I go for the £6 to £9 bottles. I’m going posh and expensive. Enjoy the best while I’m still here.’
He went on: ‘I’ve had a good life, I’m still having a good life. I am blessed. I have a fantastic family and friends round me all making my life better. Who could ask for more?’