The 33-year-old played 63 tests for the Wallabies after he represented his native South Africa at under 19 level before emigrating to Australia and linking up with the ACT Brumbies Super Rugby franchise.
A hard-nosed and aggressive player, Vickerman made his international debut in 2002 and was a virtual automatic choice for the Wallabies from 2004 until 2008 when he left Australia to study at Cambridge University in England.
Vickerman returned to Australia in 2011, forcing his way back into the national side where he added a further eight caps to his tally and participated in his third World Cup campaign.
His final appearance for the Wallabies was in their World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand at Eden Park.
"To be able to get himself back into shape both physically and mentally in order to compete against the best players in the world was an insight into his character and his dedication," Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said in a statement.
"It was particularly impressive considering he had completely stepped out of the game in order to prepare for his life beyond rugby.
"It is a huge shame that he has been cut short by injury when he still had so much to offer."