Cape Town — A family spokesperson has confirmed that former Springbok wing James Small died of a heart attack.
The South African sporting fraternity was shocked on Wednesday when news broke that Small had died at the age of 50.
Following the completion of the autopsy on Friday afternoon, the cause of death was reported as 'ischaemic heart disease'.
In addition, a police investigation also found no suspicious circumstances.
"The sudden death of a well-known person inevitably prompts all kinds of unfounded rumours, which may circulate either in the press and on social media. At this incredibly difficult time, we very seriously appeal to both the public and media to resist idle speculation and allow our beloved son, brother, father and friend to rest in peace," a family spokesperson said.
Small played 47 Tests for the Springboks between 1992 and 1997 and scored 20 tries.He was also part of the Springbok team that won the 1995 Rugby World Cup on home soil.
Small is the fourth member of that Springbok party to have passed away - coach Kitch Christie died from cancer in 1998, flank Ruben Kruger died from brain cancer in 2010 and scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen from motor neurone disease in 2017.
Small's funeral will be held in Johannesburg at 14.00 on Thursday, July 18, at a yet-to-be-confirmed venue.
"All mourners will be welcome," the family spokesperson added.