Former Springbok legend James Small has tragically passed away at the age of 50. It is reported that he suffered a heart attack on Wednesday which resulted in his death.
Vaughn Small, the former wing’s mother, confirmed the news of her son’s death with Afrikaans publication Netwerk24. He died in hospital in Johannesburg and was planning to make his way home to his 14-year-old daughter Ruby.
Small played 47 Tests for the Springboks between 1992 and 1997 and scored a total of 20 tries over his career. Small was also a part of the Springbok team that won the 1995 Rugby World Cup, which took place on home soil.
Ruben Kruger died of brain cancer in 2010, while Joost van Der Westhuizen died of motor neuron disease in 2017. This makes Small the third member of the Springboks to die in recent years.
@Springboks World Cup winner James Small has died in Johannesburg after suffering a heart attack. He was 50. He is the third member of the victorious starting XV from the 1995 final to have died following Joost van der Westhuizen and Ruben Kruger.
— Martin Gillingham (@MartGillingham) July 10, 2019
I actually liked #JamesSmall and his larger than life character. Played rugby with such flair! Rest In Peace to the fallen hero!
— Collen Mordechai Shwiliza (@Blackflava) July 10, 2019
Absolutely gutted to hear the terrible news of #jamessmall A true legend of the game, and one of my childhood hero’s. RIP Sir, you helped lift and unite an entire nation. #rugbylegend #ripjamessmall 😢 pic.twitter.com/sAww18OkX4
— Jason Getz (@GetzJason) July 10, 2019
I am so sad to hear about the passing of James Small. One of my heroes growing up. RIP James #jamessmall
— Stevo (@StevePaul84) July 10, 2019