Doddie Weir’s ‘determination to make a difference’ praised after death at 52

Former Scotland forward Doddie Weir has died aged 52. <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Former Scotland forward Doddie Weir has died aged 52. (Image: PA)

A close friend of Doddie Weir has praised his “determination to make a difference” for others as the rugby great died aged 52 after suffering motor neurone disease.

The former Scotland international was diagnosed with MND in December 2016 and went on to found research charity the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation (MNDF).

His family announced the death of their “beloved husband and father” in a statement issued through the Scottish Rugby Union on Saturday, describing him as “an inspirational force of nature”.

It is five years since Weir revealed his MND diagnosis and founded the MNDF which has committed almost £8 million to research projects across the UK.

Sports broadcaster Jill Douglas, MNDF chief executive and a close friend of Weir’s, said the foundation will work to honour his name and deliver on his legacy.

She said: “Doddie enjoyed a full life full of fun and love. And it was this approach to life which shone through in his determination to make a difference and help others when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

“He inspired us every day with his positivity and energy and was fully committed to the work of the foundation he launched with his close friends in November 2017.

“My Name’5 Doddie Foundation continues to shine a light on MND and the need to seek meaningful treatments and, one day, a cure for this devastating disease.”

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 shirts with numbers in Weir’s famous blue and yellow tartan to mark the foundation’s five-year milestone.

Tributes flooded in from across the fields of politics, sport and the arts on Saturday.

Rachel Maitland, chief executive of MND Scotland, said: “Doddie Weir was a huge inspiration who will be missed by so many.

“His bravery in sharing his experience of living with MND helped raise vital awareness across the country and beyond.”