Springbok legend Chester Williams died on Friday from a suspected heart attack. Picture: IOL archives

DURBAN - The Chief Executive Officer of the SA Rugby Legends, Stefan Terblanche has expressed shock and sadness at the sudden death of Springbok legend Chester Williams. 

The death of Williams from a suspected heart attack comes close on the heels of the passing of another Bok great James Small two months ago.

Terblanche, a former Springbok and Sharks player said: “We are very sad to lose another legend at the age of 49. Chester Williams was a rugby icon and ambassador for the sport. Chester wasn't just a legendary winger and World Cup champ, he was a warm kind-hearted gentleman who gave his all, both on and off the field. 

"Those of us who knew him are incredibly saddened by his passing. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, family and friends at this difficult time. Chester will be remembered very fondly by us and his many fans. The world is a poorer place without him," Terblanche said.

Both wingers, Williams and Small were part of the historic 1995 World Cup gaining legendary status during their rugby careers. 

Williams was particularly well-known for his role in transformation within the world of South African rugby. 

He played 27 test matches for the Springboks and after retirement, had gone on to coach and was head coach at the University of the Western Cape.

During a radio interview just after the passing of Small, Williams said that he and Small “had a great understanding on the field, and along with Andre Joubert at fullback, it worked well as the back three. I think that’s why we were so successful as a team.”

During the same interview Chester described Small as bringing a special energy to any group, as well as having a “soft heart and always caring for kids and people who were struggling financially.”

Independent on Saturday