Doddie Weir: Scotland rugby legend dies aged 52 after suffering with motor neurone disease

Doddie Weir, who won 61 caps for Scotland, has passed away aged 52; Weir was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2016 and used profile to push for better research and care; Family statement calls Weir an “inspirational force of nature”

Last Updated: 26/11/22 6:10pm

Former Scotland rugby international Doddie Weir has died aged 52 after suffering with motor neurone disease.

Weir, who won 61 caps in a legendary Scotland career, used his profile to push for better research to be carried out into MND following his diagnosis in 2016, and appealed for improved care to be given to those afflicted.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father, Doddie,” read a statement from the family via the Scottish Rugby Union.

“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.”

In 2019 Weir was awarded an OBE for services to rugby, motor neurone disease research and the Scottish Borders community.

A towering lock and lineout specialist, Weir scored four tries during his 10-year (1990-2000) Scotland career and helped his country to the 1999 Five Nations Championship – Scotland’s last major tournament success. He was also part of the British and Irish Lions squad which toured South Africa in 1997, although his trip was cut short due to injury.

He moved to Newcastle in 1995 and helped them to the 1998 Premiership title, before ending his playing days back in the Borders with the Reivers.

Weir committed his later years to helping other people affected by MND and the battle against the condition, establishing his own foundation, My Name’5 Doddie.

Jill Douglas, chief executive of the foundation, said: “Doddie enjoyed a full life full of fun and love. And it was this approach to life which shone through in his determination to make a difference and help others when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

“He inspired us every day with his positivity and energy and was fully committed to the work of the foundation he launched with his close friends in November 2017.

“My Name’5 Doddie Foundation continues to shine a light on MND and the need to seek meaningful treatments and, one day, a cure for this devastating disease.

“The Foundation has raised significant funds through the amazing efforts of our incredible supporters and has committed #8million to MND research over this time. We have also given considerable funds to people living with MND and their
families to help them live as fulfilled a life as possible.

“With Doddie’s enthusiasm and drive, we have collaborated with other stakeholders within the MND community and firmly established the foundation as a trusted, influential and well-supported charity.

“And our vision of a world free of MND remains at the heart of our strategy. As we look to the future, we will honour Doddie’s name and deliver on his legacy.

“There is much still to do and, with your support, we will continue our work, remaining true to the values and ambition of our founder.”

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac began his post-match press conference following a 39-34 Autumn Nations Series defeat against Australia in Cardiff by paying tribute to Weir.

“On behalf of the Welsh rugby public and the Welsh national team, we would like to send our condolences to Doddie’s family,” Pivac said.

“A terrific man, I was fortunate enough to meet him after a Scotland-Wales game.

“He has done a lot for the game, and our condolences go out to his family and friends.”

More to follow.

Tributes flood in for Scotland legend Weir

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