Cape Town - “He’ll be remembered as the gutsiest, most emotional guy. He wore his heart on his sleeve and that’s what I liked – he always gave 200%.”
These are the words of former Springbok rugby player Rob Louw (64) about James Small. Earlier on Wednesday, Sport24.com reported James – himself a former Springbok and part of the legendary World Cup winning team of 1995 – had died of a suspected heart attack at the age of 50.
“We were close friends, though he was a Bok after I was. We were neighbours here in Clifton (Cape Town) for five years,” Rob says.
Just six months ago James interviewed Rob for a radio station. “We talked about his pride and joy,” Rob recalls.
James couldn’t stop talking about Ruby, his 14-year-old daughter who’d lived with him in Johannesburg.
“My mom’s also called Ruby,” Rob adds.
James was apparently on his way from Cape Town to Johannesburg when he died.
“He was the kindest person I know. He’d lived hard because he enjoyed life so much,” Rob says. “It’s incredibly sad that he’s gone. I just heard the news on the radio.”
Francois Pienaar, Springbok captain during the 1995 World Cup, told YOU: “We’re all shocked and saddened. James had been fearless on the field and off the field, he had a deep empathy for people.
“We’re going to miss him a lot. His family is in our prayers during this terribly hard time. Rest in peace, James. You were a rock.”
YOU tried speaking to Christian Storm, Ruby’s mother, but she was still too traumatised to talk to the media.