Doddie Weir tributes: 'Inspirational, courageous, fun, spirited, enthusiastic, positive, loved'

Former Scotland international Doddie Weir, pictured launching his official autobiography in 2018, has died at the age of 52Former Scotland international Doddie Weir, pictured launching his official autobiography in 2018, has died at the age of 52
Former Scotland international Doddie Weir, pictured launching his official autobiography in 2018, has died at the age of 52
Tributes to former Scotland rugby international Doddie Weir have been flooding in following news of death at the age of 52, six years after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Capped 61 times between 1990 and 2000, he went on to raise millions by establishing his My Name'5 Doddie foundation to fund research into the disease following his diagnosis. The lock was given an OBE in 2019 for services to rugby, to MND research and to the Borders community. He is survived by his wife Kathy and sons Hamish, Angus and Ben.

Born in Edinburgh, Weir played club rugby for Stewart's Melville and Melrose, where he won six championship titles, before turning out for Newcastle and Border Reivers in the professional era. He was selected for the British and Irish Lions in 1997 but his tour of South Africa ended early due to injury.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Gregor Townsend, Scotland head coach and former teammate

“The news of Doddie’s passing is incredibly sad for his family and the whole of Scottish Rugby but it’s also a time to celebrate Doddie’s life and what he’s achieved, particularly over the last five years. His fight against MND and his fight to find a cure for the illness has been inspirational. I know it’s inspired so many people around the country to raise a lot of money for the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation which has in turn brought together his friends as well as rugby clubs and communities across Scotland and further afield.

“Doddie will have a huge legacy as he’s made such progress in finding a cure for MND and breakthroughs are already being made because of his determination. He was fun to be around and was always joking with teammates and coaches. He kept that spirit going once he’d retired, becoming a brilliant after dinner speaker on the back of being a brilliant rugby player. It’s a sad time for us all but it was great to see him receive the ovation and love that he earned a couple of weeks ago when he presented the match ball before our game against the All Blacks.

“It touched everyone in the stadium and those watching on TV. I know he means a lot to our players so on behalf of the Scotland team our love and thoughts go to Doddie’s family. We want to pay tribute to the big man who has made a huge difference and had a deep impact on the lives of so many over the last few years."

Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie

“Yesterday’s news was tough to take for so many people which proves how much of an inspiration Doddie Weir was. Doddie was so special to all of the Scotland players. The strength and courage he showed over the last five years to keep fighting in the face of such a terrible diagnosis was an inspiration to everyone, not just the playing group. As well as his achievements on the pitch, his personality was so infectious and we would often hear stories about him off the field about how he was an incredible character and teammate, someone we all looked up to.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I remember the first time I met him at Madras Rugby Club in what was my first ever rugby club dinner. I had just been called up to Scotland Under-16s and after his speech he invited me up on stage to give me a signed ball with a personal message on it. It’s something I’ve always treasured. As my career has progressed it’s been a privilege to get to know him more and to have the honour of receiving the match ball from him at the All Blacks match two weeks ago is a moment I will cherish forever.“The ovation he received was extremely fitting and demonstrated how much he was loved by our nation and how much he will be missed. Now more than ever it is important we continue the fight against MND and carry on his legacy. My love goes to Kathy, the boys and all of Doddie’s friends and family at this sad time. Rest easy big fella.”

John Jeffrey, Scottish Rugby Union chairman and former teammate

“Doddie was ahead of his time as a ball playing second row and for almost a decade he was one of the first names on the Scotland team sheet. He was a great team mate on the pitch and an even greater team mate off the pitch. In rugby terms Doddie will probably be remembered for two things, the cruel injury in South Africa which prevented him winning a deserved Lions Test cap and Bill McLaren describing him as a mad giraffe (which he loved!). This does not do justice to his rugby playing abilities where he was one of the most sought after signings at the start of the professional era.

“For all that Doddie achieved as a rugby player, his name is associated worldwide with the battle to find a cure for MND. For the last six years, Doddie and Kathy have dedicated themselves to not only finding a cure for MND but also caring for fellow sufferers. He raised literally millions for his foundation but, more importantly, raised awareness globally as he courageously battled this cruel disease, and always with a smile on his face. Our thoughts are with Kathy and the boys as we remember the great life of Doddie Weir.”

Jill Douglas, CEO of My Name´5 Doddie Foundation and close friend of Doddie's

“Doddie enjoyed a full life full of fun and love. And it was this approach to life which shone through in his determination to make a difference and help others when he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. He inspired us every day with his positivity and energy and was fully committed to the work of the Foundation he launched with his close friends in November 2017. My Name’5 Doddie Foundation continues to shine a light on MND and the need to seek meaningful treatments and one day, a cure for this devastating disease.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The Foundation has raised significant funds through the amazing efforts of our incredible supporters and has committed £8 million to MND research over this time. We have also given considerable funds to people living with MND and their families to help them live as fulfilled a life as possible. With Doddie’s enthusiasm and drive, we have collaborated with other stakeholders within the MND community and firmly established the Foundation as a trusted, influential and well supported charity.“And our vision of a world free of MND remains at the heart of our strategy. As we look to the future, we will honour Doddie’s name and deliver on his legacy. There is much still to do and with your support, we will continue our work, remaining true to the values and ambition of our founder.”

Kathy Weir, Doddie’s wife

“Doddie was an inspirational force of nature. We are lucky to have shared our lives with him and we cherish all those memories: his love and warmth, his support and advice, his quick wit, and his terrible jokes. It is difficult to put into words how much we will miss him.

“MND took so much from Doddie, but never his spirit and determination. He battled MND so bravely, and whilst his own battle may be over, his fight continues through his foundation, until a cure is found for all those with this devastating disease. Hamish, Angus, Ben and I would like to thank everyone for your support and for respecting our privacy at this difficult time.”