FORMER Ivory Coast rugby star Max Brito has died at the age of 54, 27 years after being paralysed in a World Cup match.
The ex-winger was paralysed from the neck down after being injured in the third minute of Ivory Coast’s pool game against Tonga in South Africa on June 3, 1995.
Times Newspapers LtdPHOTOGRAPH BY MARC ASPLAND. THE TIMES. 20.11.03. TIMES EXCLUSIVE. SHARING A TENDER MOMENT: TETRAPLAEGIC MAX BRITO WHO BROKE HIS BACK PLAYING FOR THE IVORY COAST AGAINST TONGA IN THE 1995 WORLD CUP NOW RELIES ON THE CONSTANT TENDER SUPPORT OF HIS PARTNER SEVERINE DARTIGUE LONGVE.[/caption]
A statement from World Rugby read: “World Rugby is saddened to learn of the death of former Ivory Coast international Max Brito.
“Our sincere thoughts and condolences, together with those of the global rugby fraternity, are with his family, friends, ex-team-mates and colleagues.
“Brito was born on April 8, 1968, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and was five years old when he and his family moved to Biscarrosse in France.
“He was playing as a winger for the Biscarrosse Olympique club when he was selected to represent Ivory Coast at Rugby World Cup 1995 in South Africa.
“Sadly he suffered a life-changing injury during their third pool match with Tonga.
“Marcel Martin, Bernard Lapasset and the Federation Francaise de Rugby among many others have worked hard to ensure support for Brito since 1995, and he has been an important presence at Rugby World Cups since.
“Brito stayed involved in the sport he loved and his legacy and passion for rugby will continue through the Max Brito Academy, which was set up by the Federation Ivoirienne de Rugby to train and inspire youngsters to play rugby in the Ivory Coast.”
More to follow.