Doddie Weir: Scotland great dies aged 52 after six-year battle with motor neurone disease

 (PA)
(PA)

Doddie Weir has died aged 52, after battling Motor Neurone disease for six years.

Former Scotland and Lions lock Weir fought tirelessly to raise funds for research into MND, setting up a strongly supported foundation.

The 61-cap second row was always much loved throughout his 10-year Test career, as much for his big hits as for his cheeky smile and raucous sense of humour.

Weir will leave just as great a legacy from his rugby as his campaigning and charity work, through the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

The towering lock was diagnosed with MND in 2016 and had fought ever since for greater research into the condition.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father, Doddie,” said Weir’s wife Kathy.

“Doddie was an inspirational force of nature. His unending energy and drive, and his strength of character powered him through his rugby and business careers and, we believe, enabled him to fight the effects of MND (Motor Neurone Disease) for so many years.

“Doddie put the same energy and even more love and fun into our lives together: he was a true family man. Whether working together on the farm, on holiday, or celebrating occasions with wider family and friends, Doddie was always in the thick of it.”

Weir excelled for both Newcastle Falcons and Border Reivers, but came to greatest wider prominence for his cameo appearances in the groundbreaking documentary Living With Lions.

The fly-on-the-wall documentary of the Lions’ 1997 tour to South Africa showed Weir in his element, especially in one light-hearted court session among the players.

“Mistaken identity” was Weir’s comedy defence to the charge of being caught out for a drink after official curfew.

A knee stamp in a midweek match ended Weir’s tour action prematurely, but the Scotland star ensured his presence was still felt.

“We are lucky to have shared our lives with him and we cherish all those memories: his love and warmth, his support and advice, his quick wit, and his terrible jokes. It is difficult to put into words how much we will miss him,” said Kathy Weir.

“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.

“Hamish, Angus, Ben and I would like to thank everyone for your support and for respecting our privacy at this difficult time.”