Prince William and Kate Middleton have praised Gareth Thomas as 'courageous' after he revealed he was living with HIV.
The rugby legend last night spoke for the first time in public to tell the Sunday Mirro about his diagnosis which left him feeling suicidal.
This morning William, through his and Kate's Kensington Palace Twitter account, backed the 45-year-old.
He wrote: "Courageous as ever – legend on the pitch and legend off it. You have our support Gareth. W".
The 'W' means it was written by the dad-of-three himself.
Today Gareth is taking part in a 140-mile Ironman triathlon.
The 45-year-old said he is taking part in the "toughest Ironman in the world" to "break the stigma" around HIV.
The former Wales and British Lions star, who came out as gay in 2009, was greeted with cries of 'Come on Alfie' and 'Go Gareth' after completing a gruelling two-mile swim in Tenby, West Wales.
He was one of hundreds of athletes who gathered on the start line for the Ironman Wales race in Tenby.
Thomas completed the 2.4 mile swim section in Carmarthen Bay in just under an hour-and-a-half, before switching to a push bike for a 112-mile race across south Pembrokeshire.
The final leg of the challenge will see him take on a 26.2 mile marathon through Tenby, in south west Wales.
Spectator Emma Barazia, 49, said: "Gareth was a great rugby player but he's going to be a bigger hero to so many people now.
"He must be so tough mentally and physically to take part today."
Thomas, a former British and Irish Lions captain – who came out as gay in 2009, is thought to be the first UK sportsman to go public about living with HIV.
In a video posted on his Twitter page, he said: "I am living with HIV.
"Now you have that information that makes me extremely vulnerable, but it does not make me weak.
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