Cape Town - SA Rugby reacted with shock and disbelief following the death of former Springbok wing Chester Williams.

The 49-year-old passed away from a heart attack in Cape Town on Friday.

READ | Chester's 1995 team-mate: 'Our hearts are bleeding'

SA Rugby president, Mark Alexander stated in a press release on Friday that tehy were devastated over his passing and sent out condolences to his family.

"The news of Chester's passing is devastating and hard to believe, as he was still young and seemingly in good health," said Alexander.

"Chester was a true pioneer in South African rugby and his performances at the World Cup in 1995, as a snapshot of his Springbok career, will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of our rugby public.

"As a member of the Springbok class of 1995, Chester was not only well-known in the rugby fraternity, but he was a much-loved South African whose influence stretched wider than just the rugby world.

"He was passionate about rugby and South Africa and as coach, at various levels, selflessly gave back to the game after he hung up his boots. He played with courage and was a beacon of light in his community and in the broader South African context.

"Chester Williams had so much more to give. Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife, Maria, his children, family and friends during this very sad time."

Williams made his Springbok debut against Argentina in 1993 and played 27 Tests for South Africa until his last Test, against Wales in 2000.

Williams is the fifth member of the Springbok squad from 1995 to pass away, after Kitch Christie (coach), Ruben Kruger (flank), Joost van der Westhuizen (scrumhalf), and James Small (wing), who passed away two months ago.

Williams is survived by his wife, Maria, and three children, Ryan and twins, Matthew and Chloe.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made and will be communicated in due course.

Compiled by: Lynn Butler