Cape Town - Sports minister Fikile Mbalula has sent his condolences to the family of Joost van der Westhuizen, who passed away on Monday after a long battle with motor neuron disease.
"The passing of Joost is a sad chapter in South African sporting history," Mbalula said via a statement.
"His contribution to our national rugby team was immense.
"He leaves behind a generation of athletes who aspire for his legendary sportsmanship.
"We draw lessons from his fighting spirit in both the field playing for our national team and against motor neuron disease.
"South Africa is poorer without this great giant and warrior of South African rugby. I send my sincere condolences to his family, his friends and to the entire sport fraternity."