South Africa’s former rugby star Hannes Strydom has died in a car accident at the age of 58.
He was part of the Springbok team that famously won the 1995 Rugby World Cup after the end of apartheid in 1994.
Strydom gained 21 Springbok caps in his career between 1993 and 1997.
Former teammate and close friend Kobus Wiese told local media that details of the accident were still vague, but the vehicle Strydom was travelling in collided with a minibus taxi.
The accident took place on Sunday near the coal mining town of eMalahleni in Mpumalanga province.
South African Rugby Union President Mark Alexander hailed Strydom as “one of the heroes of our local game” in the Springboks’ tribute to him.
His former club, the Lions, also paid tribute to him, describing him as a legend who had formed a formidable lock combination with Wiese.
“We share a tight bond as members of the 1995 group and to lose yet another one of our brothers is a big blow,” said Lions Rugby Company chief executive officer Rudolf Straeuli.
Strydom made his debut for the Springboks in 1993, and helped defeat arch-rivals New Zealand 15-12 in the 1995 World Cup final in Johannesburg – the biggest sporting event in South Africa after the end of apartheid.
He ended his Springbok career in 1997 after playing in the British and Irish Lions series.
Strydom also captained the Lions team that hoisted the local Currie Cup trophy in 1999.
He made 115 appearances for the team between 1993 and 2000.
Outside rugby, Strydom worked as a pharmacist in the capital, Pretoria, and started pharmacy chain Pharma Valu after hanging up his boots.
In 2014, he suffered a cracked skull and stab wounds after six people attacked him in a carjacking, landing him in intensive care.
He is the fifth player from the 1995 Springbok team to have died.
The others include Ruben Kruger in 2010, Joost van der Westhuizen in 2017, and Chester Williams and James Small in 2019. Coach Kitch Christie also died in 1998.