Gauteng Premier David Makhura has joined President Jacob Zuma and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula in paying their tributes to the family of Van der Westhuizen, saying he refused to let his condition get the better of him.
Van der Westhuizen was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 2011. The former Springbok scrumhalf passed away at the age of 45.
He played 89 Tests for the Springboks between 1993 and 2003.
“We are saddened by his untimely death. Joost van der Westhuizen had an absolutely fantastic rugby career. He was an exceptional player.
“It was incredible to see how he remained strong during his illness. He fought until the end. Van der Westhuizen’s legacy will never be forgotten. At just 45, he had so much of his life left. Everyone's thoughts are with his family, especially his two children, Jordan and Kylie,” Premier Makhura said.