Former South Africa flanker Ruben Kruger has passed away following a long battle with brain cancer.
The ex-Cheetahs and Bulls forward was first diagnosed with the illness during the early 2000s at the end of a successful career that saw him earn 36 Springbok caps, while he was also one of the stars of the 1995 World Cup-winning team.
Kruger, who was just two months short of his 40th birthday, made his debut against Argentina in Buenos Aires during 1993 and was named South African Rugby Player of the Year in the same year that the country lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy.
"Ruben Kruger was the epitome of the Springbok flanker, tough, indomitable and with an outstanding work ethic," said Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
"When Ruben was on the field you always knew that the Springboks would not be beaten without a tremendous battle.
"Our prayers have been with him through his battle against illness and it is very sad to hear of his early passing. Our thoughts are with his young family and we extend to them our sincerest condolences."