Cape Town - The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has paid tribute to the late former Springbok wing Chester Williams.

Williams passed away suddenly from a heart attack last Friday at the age of 49.

He played 27 Tests for the Boks between 1993 and 2000 and was one of the heroes of the victorious 1995 World Cup winning team.

However, prior to becoming a Springbok, Williams served in the navy and army.

The SANDF paid tribute to Williams on their official Facebook page on Tuesday:

"The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) takes note with great sadness of the passing of Springbok rugby great and former serving South African soldier, Chester Mornay Williams.

"A sailor, a soldier, a Springbok, a breaker of barriers, a national hero. Fortiter et fideliter.

"We will remember him."

Williams is the fourth player of 1995 Springbok Rugby World Cup-winning team to have died. Loose forward Ruben Kruger (39) died from brain cancer in 2010, scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen (45) from motor neurone disease in 2017 and wing James Small (50) from a heart attack earlier this year.

In addition, coach Kitch Christie (58) died of cancer in 1998.

Williams represented both Western Province and the Golden Lions provincially and played for the Cats in the Super Rugby competition.

Since retiring he was active on the coaching circuit including stints with the Springbok Sevens team, Super Rugby's Cats and the Pumas.

Compiled by Herman Mostert