Cape Town - The J9 foundation, Joost van der Westhuizen's organisation that seeks to help those suffering with Motor Neuron Disease, has cleared up the confusion surrounding the physical state of the former Springbok scrumhalf.
Reports surfaced on Friday suggesting that Van der Westhuizen, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2011, had been placed on oxygen to survive.
But Van der Westhuizen on Friday, from his personal Twitter account, and then J9 Foundation confirmed that the reports were false.
Van der Westhuizen tweeted: "Thank you everyone for caring. I just want to make something clear. I'm NOT placed on oxygen. I'm fine and still going strong!!!".
The J9 Foundation took to its Facebook page to provide further clarity:
"Good evening everyone, we have received a huge influx in calls and messages today from media, supporters and friends regarding Joost and the posts and reports going around. We would just like to clarify everything.
Joost is still fighting strong, he uses oxygen as a support occasionally and is by no means reliant on it. What happens with MND is that the respiratory muscles become weak (as do all muscles) and due to this, patients sometimes need oxygen support as the breaths are smaller thus less oxygen going through the body. Oxygen support then just helps bring the levels up again when they feel they need it.
Please guys always remember when you are reading stories in the media, most stories are written by people who do not know the "subject" at all and are written in such a way that will cause a stir or a sale.
Joost is still fighting this fight with everything in him he is an incredibly strong willed man and we continue to fight MND with him. He is grateful for all your continued support."
Van der Westhuizen played 89 Tests for the Springboks between 1993 and 2003.