South Africa, and its rugby world in particular, has been left reeling by the sudden death of Springbok legend, Chester Williams.
He passed away on Friday after reportedly suffering a heart attack, at the age of 49.
Williams was a star member of the Springbok squad that famously claimed the World Cup with the support of Nelson Mandela in 1995.
We would like to extend our condolences to the loss of former Springbok legend Chester Williams. He was 49. South Africa has lost another great giant. May his soul rest in peace. #RIPChester pic.twitter.com/JDUkphFL9p— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) September 6, 2019
Williams had been head of rugby at the University of the Western Cape (UWC).
Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius pays tribute to him in a read statement as a beacon of transformation, determination and talent.
While Chester was a passionate supporter and leader of rugby at the University of the Western Cape, he was also a man who belonged to the South African nation. Beloved on campus by players, colleagues and students alike for his gentle yet determined manner, we have indeed lost a giant.— Prof. Tyrone Pretorius, Rector and vice-chancellor - UWC
Also close to Williams, was his colleague Gasant Abarder, UWC's manager of media, marketing and communications.
He expresses his shock at the university's sudden loss, after attending a meeting with Williams just the day before his death.
We are a university in shock. We are going through a tough time.— Gasant Abarder, Manager of media, marketing and communications - UWC
I was Chester's unofficial IT guy. He would call me up and say I need you to help me... He's the kind of guy you can't say no to and that smile! That's how I remember him.— Gasant Abarder, Manager of media, marketing and communications - UWC
Tributes to Chester Williams have been pouring in on social media from around the world, including a tweet from erstwhile arch-rivals, the All Blacks, which calls him an iconic figure.
We are saddened to hear about the passing of @Springboks great Chester Williams. Chester was an iconic figure in world rugby, a fierce rival of the All Blacks on the field and a friend off it. You will be missed. Rest in love, Chester. pic.twitter.com/I1OTHvKiRI— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) September 6, 2019
We extend our thoughts and condolences to all @Springboks and to the family and friends of the legendary Chester Williams.— Wallabies (@wallabies) September 7, 2019
A pioneer, and a symbol of hope for black South Africans at a time of great change in their country. #RIPChester pic.twitter.com/1Ov7y5ETO4
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This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'We have lost a giant' - remembering Springbok legend Chester Williams