The family of Springbok legend James Small have requested that the media respect their privacy and allow them to grieve in private.
The 1995 World Cup winner Small passed away on Wednesday, July 10. The sudden passing of the legend was indeed a shock to the rugby fraternity and media, who continued to speculate and delve into the cause of his death.
However, following the completion of the autopsy on Friday, the family of the ex-Springbok wing confirmed the cause of death was reported as ‘ischaemic heart disease’ and not under ‘suspicious circumstances’.
After the news was made public, now the family have released another statement on Saturday asking the media to respect Small’s children privacy and stated that they will not entertain any rumours or stories in regards to the fatal incident.
The statement read: ” Given how well-known James was, we understand the media and public interest. The James we know made mistakes. Yes, he battled tough times. Who hasn’t? However, he took responsibility for those mistakes – the many journalists who interviewed him, and all his teammates and friends will attest to this.
“James’s legacy speaks for itself.
“As his family, our sole concern right now are his two young children, who are shocked and devastated. To lose your father suddenly is traumatic enough without the added pressure they are getting from certain sectors.
James Small, one of the heroes of SA's first Rugby World Cup triumph, has died of an apparent heart attack.
The famous Springbok will go down in lore for his fighting spirit and great attacking instinct. #RIPJamesSmall pic.twitter.com/Xf93YSMEkE
— SuperSport ??? (@SuperSportTV) July 10, 2019
“We again seriously request that the children and the family’s privacy be respected by the media.
“James lived his life in the public eye. His children did not.
“The coroner and police have confirmed that James died from a heart attack. No foul play is suspected. This is surely where the public’s ‘need-to-know’ should end.
RIP James Smallhttps://t.co/gxqmR6LgXQ
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 12, 2019
“We will not dignify any other stories or rumours with a response and will not be making any further comment.
“We have a funeral to plan and the life of a hero – a man we loved – to celebrate,”
Small’s funeral will be held in Johannesburg, at 14.00 on Thursday, July 18.
The venue will be confirmed on Monday.
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