South Africa 3.11.2014 02:14 pm

De Lille, Saru saddened by Linee’s death

FILE PICTURE: Former Western Province centre Tinus Linee, who has been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease, joined the DHL Stormers at their captain's training session ahead of tomorrow's Super Rugby match against the Reds. (Photo by Luke Walker/Gallo Images)

FILE PICTURE: Former Western Province centre Tinus Linee, who has been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease, joined the DHL Stormers at their captain's training session ahead of tomorrow's Super Rugby match against the Reds. (Photo by Luke Walker/Gallo Images)

News of former Western Province centre Tinus Linee’s death on Monday was greeted with sadness by the SA Rugby Union (Saru) and Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.

Linee was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (MND) last year and died aged 45 on Monday morning.

“He was a standard bearer for his community following rugby unity and carried that flag high, winning Springbok selection and touring twice with the national team,” Saru president Oregan Hoskins said in a statement.

“His fighting spirit on the field and more recently off the field after being diagnosed with MND were the measure of the man.”

In the Saru statement, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer described Linee as “strong and brave”.

“We have lost a Springbok brother and it made for a sombre mood in the team room today. We’ll be thinking of Tinus and his family when we take the field against Ireland on Saturday.”

Both extended their condolences to Linee’s loved ones.

De Lille said: “The rugby fraternity has lost a great talent, but we salute him and pay tribute to him for the contribution that he made to provincial and national rugby.

Linee played 112 matches at centre for his province between 1992 and 2001. He made his Springbok debut in 1993, aged 23.

He played nine tour matches for his country in Australia, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland between 1993 and 1994, but was never capped in a Test.

He will be remembered as a loyal Western Province player with a no-nonsense approach to defence as displayed by his bone-crunching tackles, Western Province Rugby said on its website.

Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he was saddened to hear of Linee’s death in the early hours of the morning.

“We wish to extend our deepest condolences to the Linee family as well as the rugby and sporting fraternity,” he said in a statement.

“We shall be interacting with Saru and the family for further information relating to his memorial and burial.”

Western Province Rugby Football Union president Thelo Wakefield told www.wprugby.com: “This is a sad, sad day for Western Province and South African Rugby.

“Tinus fought a very brave battle against a dreadful disease and his tenacity and guts will always be remembered, as a rugby player and during the past 18 months.

“Our thoughts are with his entire family, especially his wife Diana, who stood like a rock beside her husband.”

Joost van der Westhuizen, former Springbok scrumhalf and fellow MND sufferer expressed his condolences on social media.

“Sad day for Rugby in SA. Just received news of the passing of a rugby legend and MND Warrior Tinus Linee RIP my friend #J9Foundation,” he said on Twitter.

After hanging up his boots, Linee worked as a development officer for the union and was a member of the WP Vodacom Cup management team in 2008.

Linee is survived by his wife Diana, her two sons, and a daughter from his first marriage.

Sapa

 

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