South Africa mourns the passing of Former Springbok legend Chester Williams has passed away.
According to reports, the 49-year-old died from a sudden heart attack.
Williams had complained about a pain in his chest on Friday afternoon after returning to his home in Cape Town after a gym session.
He was rushed to hospital, but passed away on arrival.
Nicknamed the “Black Pearl”, Williams was born in Paarl on 8 August 1970. He played for Western Province and the Golden Lions during his provincial career, which stretched from 1991 to 2000. He also had two seasons of Super Rugby with the Cats.
Williams was part of the Springboks 1995 Rugby World Cup winning squad.
He played 27 Tests for the Boks between 1993 and 2000, scoring 14 tries in that time.
Williams was named the SA Rugby Player of the Year in 1994. Apart from lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in 1995, Williams was also a member of the Springbok squad that won the Rugby Championship (then Tri-Nations) in 1998, and he won the Currie Cup with the Golden Lions in 1999.
Since retiring he has been active on the coaching circuit including stints with the Springbok Sevens team, Super Rugby’s Cats and the Pumas.
Williams was the head rugby coach for the University of Western Cape (UWC). The university’s media manager tweeted that he was in contact with Williams on Friday morning.
Less than two months ago, Williams’ Springbok wing partner James Small died at the age of 50, also from a heart attack.
South African rugby lovers and friends and former team-mates of Williams were taking to Twitter on Friday evening to pay their respects to a man who is one of the most iconic Springboks ever to have played the game.
Just last week, Williams invited Cape Town media and members of the rugby community to the launch of a new business venture that saw him create his own brand of beer called Chester’s Lager and IPA.
The product is due to be sold in Japan during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Williams is the fifth member of the Springbok squad from 1995 to pass away, after Kitch Christie (coach), Ruben Kruger (flank), Joost van der Westhuizen (scrumhalf), and Small (wing), who passed away two months ago.
Williams is survived by his wife, Maria, and three children, Ryan and twins, Matthew and Chloe.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made and will be communicated in due course