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Doddie Weir passes away from MND aged 52

By Ian Cameron
Doddie Weir is being inducted into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Former Scotland and British & Irish Lions second-row Doddie Weir has passed away at the age of 52 from complications due to Motor Neuron Disease (MND) – the family confirmed through Scottish Rugby.

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A statement from the family reads: ‘It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father, Doddie.

“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 (Motor Neurone Disease) for so many years.

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“Doddie put the same energy and even more love and fun into our lives together: he was a true family man. Whether working together on the farm, on holiday, or celebrating occasions with wider family and friends, Doddie was always in the thick of it.

“We are lucky to have shared our lives with him and we cherish all those memories: his love and warmth, his support and advice, his quick wit, and his terrible jokes. 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 fora!l 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.”

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A larger-than-life character on and off the field, George Wilson ‘Doddie’ Weir enjoyed a storied career for Scotland, the Lions, Melrose, Newcastle Falcons and Border Reivers.

The rugby world came together in 2017 upon news of his diagnosis with the life-limiting disease, an illness he bore for five years.

Indeed Scotland turned out in Weir’s tartan for their autumn international against New Zealand last Sunday to mark the fifth anniversary of his motor neurone disease research foundation.

The former Scotland international was in attendance in the crowd for the match, five years on from his appearance at the same fixture just months after he revealed his motor neurone disease (MND) diagnosis.

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He went on to found the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation (MNDF), which has now committed almost £8 million to research projects across the UK.

Scotland wore specially created shirts with numbers in Weir’s famous blue and yellow tartan to mark the foundation’s milestone. Weir wore the number five jersey in his club career and when he won 61 caps for Scotland.

Former Scotland and Lions teammate Gregor Townsend was gutted Scotland were not able to get a victory in front of Doddie Weir, his 52-year-old former international team-mate who presented the match ball before kick-off on a rare return to the national stadium.

“It was a big occasion for Doddie and his family,” Townsend said. “It was brilliant to hear the crowd show their appreciation for him. We wanted to win the game for Doddie and we didn’t.”

additional reporting PA

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