Doddie Weir, former Scotland rugby international, dies after lengthy battle with motor neurone disease | UK News

Former Scotland rugby international Doddie Weir has died at the age of 52 after a lengthy battle with motor neurone disease (MND).

His wife Kathy said he was a “true family man” and it was “difficult to put into words how much we will miss him”.

She said in a statement, released by Scotland Rugby: “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.

“MND took so much from Doddie, but never his spirit and determination. Hamish, Angus, Ben and I would like to thank everyone for your support.”

Weir, who was six feet six, played as a forward and was known for crunching tackles and thunderous carries, winning his first cap for Scotland against Argentina in 1990.

The late BBC commentator, Bill McLaren, once famously described him as being “on the charge like a mad giraffe”.

After being diagnosed with MND he said he was going to “crack on”.

He told The Sunday Times: “I’ve not had a big melt, even at home, because I’m not sure it would help. Maybe the odd time in the car. But again I go back to my life. I’ve had a fantastic life. So crack on.”

Only a fortnight before his death, Weir was present as former professional rugby league player Kevin Sinfield set off on seven ultra marathons in seven days, raising more than £2m for MND charities.

He did not like the idea of resting. “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” he said.

“When you sit down and let it get to you, you disappear. I’ve always had a positive outlook. Do what you can do today and worry about tomorrow when it comes. And if it doesn’t come, then you’ve a bloody good time.”

Doddie Weir
Weir said he always had a ‘positive outlook’

The MND Association said that since sharing his diagnosis in 2017, Weir had “became an inspiration to many” by raising awareness and “campaigning tirelessly on behalf of those” with the disease.

He was born George Weir on 4 July, 1970.

Educated at Stewart’s Melville College in Edinburgh, he played for its first fifteen before moving to Melrose in 1991, where he won a hat-trick of Scottish Championships.

He later played for Newcastle Falcons, who described him as a “legend”, and Border Reivers.

He was capped for Scotland 61 times and helped his country to the 1999 Five Nations Championship.

Nicola Sturgeon said Weir’s death was “so terribly sad”.

Scotland’s first minister tweeted: “Doddie was one of our nation’s sporting legends, but the brave way he responded to MND surpassed anything ever achieved on the rugby pitch.

“He refused to let it dim his spirit and did so much to help others. My condolences to his loved ones.”