Prince William has sent a message of support to Gareth Thomas after the former Welsh international rugby star revealed that he is HIV positive.
The former Wales captain’s decision to speak out was backed by the Duke of Cambridge, through his Kensington Palace account.
It was signed off “W”, meaning it was written by William himself.
He retweeted a video Gareth had posted, adding: “Courageous as ever – legend on the pitch and legend off it. You have our support Gareth. W”
The 45-year-old is the first UK sportsman to reveal he has the virus and is breaking his silence because he wants to end stigma around HIV.
He has also been strongly supported by crowds in Tenby today, where he is competing in the Ironman Wales race.
Supporters who lined the streets of the seaside town cheered him on as he started out on one of the world’s toughest races.
There were shouts of “Come on Alfie” and “Go Gareth” as he finished the two-mile swim section of the course in under an hour-and-a-half, before he got on the bike for the 112-mile cycle.
The final leg of the challenge will see him take on a 26.2 mile marathon through the seaside town.
There were shouts of “Come on Alfie” and “Go Gareth”.
Gareth has received messages of support from around the world, including from Warren Gatland on behalf of the Wales rugby team who are out in Japan for the World Cup.
In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, Thomas said: “I’ve been living with this secret for years. I’ve felt shame and keeping such a big secret has taken its toll. I was in a dark place, feeling suicidal. I thought about driving off a cliff.
“To me, wanting to die was just a natural thought and felt like the easier way out, but you have to confront things.”
He also described being threatened by blackmailers who wanted to expose his HIV diagnosis.
The former Cardiff Blues player won 103 caps and scored 41 tries for Wales between 1995 and 2007, and he is 13th on the all-time international test try-scoring list.
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