South Africa’s rugby legend James Small has died aged 50 from a suspected heart attack.
Small’s mother, Vaughn, confirmed the tragic news of her son’s passing this morning.
The Springboks legend – and 1995 World Cup winner – was said to be on his way to Cape Town from Johannesburg at the time.
Speedy winger Small played 47 Tests for South Africa, in a five-year career between 1992 and 1997 – gaining a reputation for being the “bad boy” of the team for his verbal tirades.
He even became the first Springbok to ever be sent off, after he argued with referee Ed Morison.
Small scored 20 tries during his impressive career – which included stopping Jonah Lomu and his rampant New Zealand team-mates en route to winning the 1995 World Cup on home soil.
But now, he becomes the THIRD member of that triumphant group to pass away.
RIP TO A LEGEND
Ruben Kruger lost his battle with brain cancer in 2010 – while Joost van der Westhuizen passed away two years ago after suffering from motor neurone disease.
Despite retiring from rugby 20 years ago, Small continued to work within the sport.
He coached at various clubs in his homeland, including NWU and Leopards more recently.
Ever since the horrendous news of Small’s death broke in South Africa, fans, pundits and fellow sports stars have been paying tribute to the legend.
Former cricketer Herschelle Gibbs wrote: “Just heard the sad news about the ex-Springboks winger James Small who passed away today.