Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir has revealed he has been diagnosed with the life-limiting illness Motor Neurone Disease (MND) as he pledged his support to a campaign to raise awareness of the condition.

The former British and Irish Lion– winner of 61 caps for Scotland and an award-winning after-dinner speaker and MC – said he would also devote his time to fund-raising for an Edinburgh research centre.

George Weir, better known as Doddie, said: ''Over the past few months a number of friends and family have raised concerns surrounding my health. I think then, that on this day set to help raise awareness of the condition, I should confirm that I too have Motor Neurone Disease. I should like to take this opportunity to thank the National Health Service in recognising then diagnosing this, as yet, incurable disease.

“I am currently on holiday in New Zealand with Kathy and the boys and when we return, I will devote my time towards assisting research and raising awareness and funds to help support fellow sufferers. There are plans in place to create a charitable foundation to help in any way we can and we will share these details with you after our family trip.”

MND, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive and incurable disease. Other prominent sufferers include scientist Stephen Hawking, poverty campaigner Bob Holman, and Scottish political activist Gordon Aikman, who died in February.

It occurs when cells which usually transmit messages from the brain and spinal cord to telling muscles in the body what to do break down. Messages from the nerves gradually stop reaching the muscles, which causes them to weaken and waste away.

Doddie is supporting researchers in their quest to better understand the disease, in the hope that it will eventually lead to new therapies and has pledged his support for research at the Euan MacDonald Centre, a Scotland-wide research initiative based at the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Siddharthan Chandran, Director of the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research, said: “We are immensely grateful to Doddie for his support at this difficult time for him and his family. Working in partnership with other researchers and charities such as MND Scotland, our goal is to bring forward the day when there are effective treatments for this very tough condition.”