Jannie du Plessis’ one-year-old son tragically drowns as rugby legend celebrates birthday

The former Springbok endured a heartbreaking tragedy on Tuesday (Image: Toks van der Linde Twitter)

Jannie du Plessis’ one-year-old son has sadly passed away after he reportedly drowned in a swimming pool on the same day the South African rugby legend celebrated his birthday.

Du Plessis, who won 70 caps for his country, celebrated his 39th birthday on Tuesday but the celebrations were marred by tragedy when his infant son died.

The circumstances surrounding the child’s death have not yet been confirmed, but Lions chief Rudolf Straeuli has confirmed the news and asked people to respect du Plessis’ privacy.

He told Sport24: “We are not doing well as a Lions family.

“I can confirm that this tragedy happened. We are all broken.

“As I’m sure everyone can understand, Jannie and his family must now be left alone to deal with this tragedy.

“We offer him our full support and kindly ask everyone to keep them in their thoughts and prayers.”

Jannie du Plessis won 70 caps for South Africa (Image: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)

Du Plessis and his wife Ronel have two other children, daughters Rosalie and Hele.

Former Springbok Toks van der Linde was among the first to break the news of the accident, tweeting a photo of Du Plessis holding his late son as he stood next to his wife Ronel.

He captioned the photo: ‘Please pray for Jannie du Plessis and his family, his 1 year old son drowned last night my heart is broken broken broken @SuperSportTV @kykNETtv #So so sad.’

One of the veteran’s former clubs, Sharks, also mourned the loss on social media.

They posted: ‘The Sharks send our deepest condolences to @JannieDup3, [his wife] Ronel and the entire Du Plessis family about the tragic loss of his young son.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.”

Du Plessis helped South Africa win the Rugby World Cup in 2007 when the Springboks defeated England in the final and now plays his rugby with the South African Lions.

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