Cape Town - The University of the Western Cape (UWC), where Chester Williams was serving as a Director of Rugby, has released a statement following the shocking news on Friday that the 49-year-old had died after suffering a heart attack

Sport24 understands that Williams had complained about a pain in his chest on Friday afternoon after returning to his home in Cape Town after a gym session.

He was rushed to hospital, but passed away on arrival.

The news was met with shock from all corners of the South African sporting community, with former team-mates and fans of the game paying their respects on social media. 

UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, released the following statement:

"It is with great sadness and shock that we have learnt that Chester Williams, our head of rugby and legendary Springbok, has died. 

"While Chester was a passionate supporter and leader of rugby at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), he was a man who belonged to the South African nation.

"Beloved on campus by players, colleagues and students alike for his gentle yet determined manner, we have indeed lost a giant today. 

"We will forever be indebted to this son of the South African soil for his talented display on the field as well as his innately compassionate character off the field.

"We will all remember him and his charitable endeavours through the Chester Williams Rugby Foundation that assisted many talented, young rugby players. 

"Here, at UWC, we admired him for leading from the front and investing in our rugby players to the extent that they were victorious in the Rugby Varsity Shield that led to our historic promotion to the Varsity Cup tournament.  

"Chester transcended barriers of all kinds and will always stand as a beacon of transformation, determination and talent. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time and we, along with the South African nation and rugby fraternity, pay tribute to a humble, generous and beloved legend."

- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard