Rugby star and ALS campaigner Doddie Weir dies at 52

Nov 25, 2022, 10:23 PM | Updated: Nov 26, 2022, 1:13 pm

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — Doddie Weir, a former Scotland rugby player whose diagnosis with Lou Gehrig’s disease led to a widely praised campaign for more research into ALS, has died at the age of 52.

The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) announced Weir’s death on Saturday.

The lock played 61 times for Scotland and was famed for his crunching tackles and thunderous carries. He was once described by a BBC commentator, Bill McLaren, as being “on the charge like a mad giraffe.”

Weir was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as motor neurone disease (MND), in December 2016. He used his profile to push for more funding and better research to be carried out into ALS and appealed for improved care to be given to those affected by it.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father, Doddie,” read a statement from the family via the SRU. “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 for all those with this devastating disease.”

Weir committed his later years to helping other people affected by the disease, establishing his own foundation, My Name´5 Doddie (MNDF), which has committed almost 8 million pounds ($9.7 million) to research projects across the United Kingdom.

William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales, paid tribute to Weir in a personally signed tweet: “Doddie Weir was a hero — we are so sad to hear of his passing. His immense talent on the pitch as well as his tireless efforts to raise awareness of MND were an inspiration.”

Weir’s death came less than two weeks after he made a rare appearance at Murrayfield in Edinburgh where Scotland lost to New Zealand, with the Scottish team wearing specially created jerseys with numbers in Weir’s famous blue and yellow tartan to mark the foundation’s five-year milestone.

“This is so terribly sad. 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,” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted. “He refused to let it dim his spirit and did so much to help others.”

He was born George Weir on July 4, 1970, but would become better known by his nickname. He won his first cap against Argentina in 1990 and became a second-row fulcrum throughout the 1990s. Weir helped his country to the 1999 Five Nations Championship — Scotland’s last major tournament success. He was also part of the British and Irish Lions squad which toured South Africa in 1997, but his trip was cut short by injury before he could get to grips with the Springboks.

Weir is survived by wife Kathy and sons Hamish, Angus and Ben.

In an interview with British newspaper Sunday Times just a few months after he publicly announced his illness, Weir dismissed the suggestion that his final days might be filled with self pity.

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

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

How to watch the Grammys live (including the red carpet)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Grammys have evolved from their humble beginnings into a daylong feast of music — and there’s many ways to watch the red carpet and show live. Most of the awards are handed out before that during the Premiere Ceremony, which the Recording Academy will stream live Sunday beginning at 3:30 […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Woman dies as migrant boat sinks off Greek island

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A woman died when a boat carrying at least 41 migrants crashed on a rocky coast on the Greek island of Leros Sunday, authorities said. Greece’s coast guard said they were alerted by a person who saw a body floating at sea. Three vessels and a helicopter, joined by a detachment […]
1 day ago
An injured man evacuates with family members from a residential building which was hit by a Russian...
Associated Press

Ukraine: 5 injured in rocket attacks on 2nd-largest city

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Five people were injured in Russian rocket attacks Sunday in the center of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, officials said. Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Syniehubov said four people were injured when a Russian S-300 missile fell near an apartment block and another was hurt when a missile hit a higher-education building. Local […]
1 day ago
FILE - A fuel trucks drives along a highway in Frankfurt, Germany, Jan. 27, 2023. European Union go...
Associated Press

Europe bans Russian diesel, other oil products over Ukraine

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Europe imposed a ban Sunday on Russian diesel fuel and other refined oil products, slashing energy dependency on Moscow and seeking to further crimp the Kremlin’s fossil fuel earnings as punishment for invading Ukraine. The ban comes along with a price cap agreed by the Group of Seven allied democracies. The […]
1 day ago
FILE - Then-Republican candidate for Indiana Secretary of State Diego Morales speaks during an inte...
Associated Press

Election skeptics slow to get sweeping changes in GOP states

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republicans in some heavily conservative states won their campaigns for secretary of state last year after claiming they would make sweeping changes aimed at keeping fraud out of elections. So far, their efforts to make good on their promises are mixed, in some cases because their rhetoric has bumped up against skepticism […]
1 day ago
FILE - Outgoing British Prime Minister Liz Truss speaks outside Downing Street in London, on Oct. 2...
Associated Press

It wasn’t me: Ex-UK PM Truss blames ‘system’ for her failure

LONDON (AP) — Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss says her failure wasn’t her fault. Truss on Sunday blamed a “powerful economic establishment” and internal Conservative Party opposition for the rapid collapse of her government, and said she still believes her tax-cutting policies were the right ones. Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister resigned in October, six […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Rugby star and ALS campaigner Doddie Weir dies at 52