DODDIE Weir, the legendary Scottish rugby player and campaigner, has passed away.

In a statement issued through Scottish Rugby, his family praised him as an “inspirational force of nature”.

The Doddie Weir Cup, contested by Scotland and Wales, was named for the sports star, who suffered with motor neurone disease (MND).

He spent years campaigning on the issue, setting up the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation to aim for “a world free of MND”.

Weir won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award in 2019 for his efforts.

Announcing his passing at aged 52, his family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father, Doddie.

“Doddie was an inspirational force of nature. His unending energy and drive, and his strength of character powered him through his rugby and business careers and, we believe, enabled him to fight the effects of MND for so many years.

“Doddie put the same energy and even more love and fun into our lives together: he was a true family man. Whether working together on the farm, on holiday, or celebrating occasions with wider family and friends, Doddie was always in the thick of it.

"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.

The National:

“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. Kathy Weir.”

The National: Doddie Weir playing rugby in 1999Doddie Weir playing rugby in 1999 (Image: PA)

The tributes for the Scotland star rapidly began pouring in, with “RIP Doddie” trending on Twitter.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those who sent their condolences. She wrote on Twitter: "This is so terribly sad. Doddie was one of our nation’s sporting legends, but the brave way he responded to MND surpassed anything ever achieved on the rugby pitch.

"He refused to let it dim his spirit and did so much to help others. My condolences to his loved ones. #RIPDoddie"

The British and Irish Lions also paid tribute, writing: "We're devastated to hear of the passing of Doddie. A Scotland legend, his determination to raise awareness and help find a cure for MND epitomised his personality.

"Our thoughts are with his family, friends, all connected with Scottish Rugby and his charity."

The Glasgow Warriors added: “An inspiration. A legend. One of a kind. From all of us at Glasgow Warriors, we send our heartfelt condolences to Doddie's family.

“Thank you for everything, Doddie. Rest in peace.”

Tory MP Andrew Bowie said: “Such sad news. A real hero who raised so much awareness of MND through his amazing work.”