The death has taken place of the former Irish rugby international Moss Keane at the age of 62.

The Kerry native was capped 51 times for Ireland, making his debut in Paris in 1974. He was part of the side that won the Triple Crown in 1982.

He toured New Zealand in 1977 with the British and Irish Lions and was also a part of the famous Munster side of 1978 that defeated New Zealand in Thomond Park.

Keane also played Gaelic football and represented his native county in the U-21 grade and won Sigerson Cup honours with UCC.

Moss Keane is survived by his wife Anne and his two daughters Sarah and Anne Marie.

Commenting on the news of Moss Keane’s passing, IRFU President Caleb Powell said: 'Quite simply Irish rugby has lost one of its most genuine characters and legends of the game.

'Moss had ability on the field that no one could doubt from his record at club, provincial and international level. UCC, Lansdowne, Munster, Ireland and the British & Irish Lions all benefited from his presence and ensured that his reputation will live long in the memories of not only Irish rugby, but world rugby.'

'My own memories of Moss were his great belief in the ethos of the game which was evident in how he related to players from all levels in our club Lansdowne. It did not matter whether you were an Ireland international or playing for the third Bs, he always had time for everybody in the club and he will be sorely missed.'

A statement by Taoiseach Brian Cowen, TD, on the death of Moss Keane read: 'I am saddened to learn today of the untimely passing of Moss Keane who was one of the great gentlemen of Irish sport. He will be sadly missed by his many fans and admirers across the sporting world.

Moss Keane was one of the finest rugby players Ireland has ever produced. He was among rugby's best knows characters and a legend of the game at home and abroad, representing Munster, Ireland and the British & Irish Lions with great distinction. He was also an accomplished Gaelic Footballer in his younger days.

Moss will, of course, always be associated with the heroic Munster side of 1978 that defeated the All Blacks in Thomond Park.

Moss's loss will be felt most deeply by those who knew him best. I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Moss's family, his wife Anne, daughters Sarah and Anne Marie, and his friends.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a ainm dhílis.

Former Kerry All-Ireland football winner and now Kerry Fine Gael TD, Jimmy Deenihan paid tribute to Keane by saying: 'I knew Moss for decades and today is a sad day for all involved in sport, particularly in Kerry.

'Moss and I retained a long friendship since our youth and I had the pleasure of playing on the Kerry Junior team with him as well as against him on the rugby pitch. It is no exaggeration to say that Moss was one of the best known Kerrymen of his generation and he retained a deep affection for Currow where he was born.

'I remember well the Munster Final of 1977 when the Kerry team of which I was a member beat Cork. He demonstrated his deep affection for his home county when he said, while on tour with the Lions, that the highlight of the tour was when he heard that Kerry beat Cork.

'Many will remember the central role Moss played in Munster’s historic victory over New Zealand. I met him after the game and saw first hand just how proud he was of Munster and all the supporters who played their part. Moss will be sadly missed.'