Wales will wear black armbands during their 2020 Guinness Six Nations match against England at Twickenham this afternoon in tribute to former international Matthew J Watkins.
Watkins passed away aged 41, following a seven-year battle with cancer that began back in 2013 when he was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease in his pelvis.
In 2018 he discovered it had spread to his spine, before revealing earlier this year it had also spread to his head.
In recent years he has helped raise thousands of pounds with fundraising events for Welsh Cancer Centre Velindre, where he was receiving treatment.
The popular centre made 18 appearances for Wales between 2003 and 2006, including winning nine caps in the Championship.
His international debut came against Italy in 2003, while he starred at club level for Newport, Scarlets and Gloucester.
A WRU statement said: “We are deeply saddened by the news that former Wales international Matthew J Watkins has passed away.
“The squad will today wear black armbands to show their respects. All our thoughts are with MJ’s family and friends.”
Watkins is survived by his wife Stacey and sons Siôr and Tal and the family recently spent a day with the Wales squad ahead of the Guinness Six Nations match against France.
Wales will don black armbands for their trip to Twickenham and tributes have poured in from the wider rugby family following the news.
A statement from the Scarlets said: “The Scarlets family are deeply saddened by the news that our former player Matthew Watkins has passed away at the age of 41.
“‘MJ’ played 150 matches in a Scarlets jersey between 2002 and 2008, scoring 42 tries, including one against Ulster at Stradey Park that helped the Scarlets clinch the 2003-04 Celtic League title.
“He is fondly remembered as a silky-skilled, creative midfielder, who was a hugely popular figure among our supporters, the playing squad and staff at Stradey.
“The thoughts of everyone at Scarlets Rugby are with Matthew’s wife Stacey, his sons Siôr and Tal, family and friends at this sad time.”