Doddie Weir has died at the age of 52, the Scottish Rugby Union has announced. The former Scotland international, who won 61 caps, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2016.
Weir used his profile to push for better research to be carried out into MND and appealed for improved care to be given to those afflicted by it.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father, Doddie,” read a statement from Weir’s family issued via the SRU.
“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 for so many years.
“Doddie put the same energy and even more love and fun into our lives together: he was a true family man. 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. Kathy Weir.”
Edinburgh-born Weir started his playing career with Stewart’s Melville College before moving to Melrose in 1991, where he won a hat-trick of Scottish Championships.
The first of his 61 caps came against Argentina in 1990 and the secondrow helped Scotland win the then Five Nations Championship in 1999.
Weir also toured South Africa in 1997 as part of the British and Irish Lions squad but did not feature because of a knee injury.
Having moved to Newcastle, Weir won the 1997-1998 Premiership title, before ending his playing days with Border Reivers.
Following retirement, Weir returned to farming duties with his family and also did some media work.
Although his battle with MND gradually took its toll, Weir continued his fundraising campaign and set up the ‘My Name’5 Doddie’ foundation.
Newcastle paid tribute to “lifetime friend” Weir in a club statement.
“Following his diagnosis of motor neurone disease in 2017 Doddie showed his characteristic mixture of determination and good humour in raising many millions for research into the currently-incurable condition,” Newcastle said.
“It was our honour to display his foundation’s logo on the front of our shirts when we played at St James’ Park in front of a club record crowd of more than 30,000 in 2018, and to play our part in supporting their incredible fundraising activity.
“All associated with Newcastle Falcons would like to express our sadness at hearing the news of Doddie’s passing, whilst at the same time remembering the many happy memories and good times of which he was a central part.”