Cape Town - Joost van der Westhuizen's family have opened up about the Springbok legend's final moments.
READ: All the reaction to Joost van der Westhuizen's death
Van der Westhuizen lost his battle against motor neuron disease on Monday, February 6 at the age of 45, having first been diagnosed with the illness in 2011.
Van der Westhuizen's brother, Pieter, told YOU magazine that it had been his Joost's decision to take himself off a ventilator that Monday morning.
"He told me, 'I'm tired now, I want to go home (to heaven),' said Pieter.
Van der Westhuizen was rushed to hospital in a critical condition on the Saturday prior to his death, but said he didn't want to die in hospital, so returned home.
A bed was prepared in the
living room and photos of his two children brought to him from his bedroom
Having said goodbye to his mother, Mariana, who then left the room, Van der Westhuizen passed
away around 13:00 in the presence of Pieter and his father, Gustav.
Van der Westhuizen's estranged wife Amor, and their children Jordan
(13) and Kylie (10), only arrived at the house after 14:00, but they had
said their goodbyes at the hospital.
Doctors confirmed to the family that even if Van der Westhuizen had
stayed on a ventilator, he would have had a few days, rather than weeks, to live.
The presiding doctor also revealed that Van der Westhuizen had been
clinically dead upon arrival at the hospital, but that staff had
Van der Westhuizen played 89 Tests for the Springboks between 1993 and 2003.
He scored a then-Springbok record of 38 tries and is widely regarded as one of the game’s finest-ever scrumhalves.
A public memorial service was held for Van der Westhuizen at his beloved Loftus Versfeld on Friday, February 10.
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