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Small's cause of death confirmed

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Suspicious circumstances ruled out as James Small's cause of death confirmed by autopsy

Springbok legend James Small died of natural causes and not under ‘suspicious circumstances’. Small’s family said in a statement it has been confirmed the 1995 World Cup winner suffered a heart attack.

Following the completion of the autopsy on Friday, the family of the ex-Springbok wing reported that the cause of death was reported as ‘ischaemic heart disease’. In addition, a police investigation has found no suspicious circumstances.

Small’s funeral will be held in Johannesburg, at 14.00 on Thursday, July 18, at a yet-to-be-confirmed venue. “The sudden death of a well-known person inevitably prompts all kinds of unfounded rumours, which may circulate either in the press and on social media,” a family spokesman said.

“At this incredibly difficult time, we very seriously appeal to both the public and media to resist idle speculation and allow our beloved son, brother, father and friend to rest in peace.”

Small is the fourth member of South Africa’s legendary 1995 World Cup winners to have been lost. The former winger, 50, was rushed to hospital in Johannesburg on Tuesday night after suffering from a suspected heart attack.

(Continue reading below…)

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He played 47 Tests for the Springboks between 1992 and 1997 and was a key member of the 1995 squad that went on to beat New Zealand in the World Cup final.

Kruger died from brain cancer in 2010 and van der Westhuizen from motor neuron disease in 2017. Christie passed away in 1998 as a result of his prolonged battled with leukaemia.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander passed on condolences to Small’s family and friends on Wednesday. “As a member of the triumphant World Cup squad from 1995, James will always have a special place in the hearts and minds of the South African public and we were devastated to hear of his passing.”

WATCH: The third episode of the RugbyPass Rugby Explorer series where Jim Hamilton takes a trek through South African rugby 

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Suspicious circumstances ruled out as James Small's cause of death confirmed by autopsy