Sam Warburton has retired from rugby union at the age of 29, a joint statement from the Welsh Rugby Union and Cardiff Blues has announced.
The former Wales skipper, who captained the British and Irish Lions on tours to Australia in 2013 and New Zealand last summer, underwent neck and knee surgery last year and has not played for 12 months.
Capped 74 times by Wales and a further five by the British & Irish Lions, Warburton led his country for a record 49 times.
Since returning to pre-season with Cardiff Blues it become clear to Warburton he wouldn't be able to return to the high standards he has set throughout his career and has reluctantly made the decision to retire.
The announcement was made jointly by the Welsh Rugby Union and Warburton's regional team Cardiff Blues.
Warburton will go down in history as the most successful British & Irish Lions captains of all time.
He bows out with a glittering CV that includes leading Wales to Grand Slam and Six Nations glory as well as to two Rugby World Cups.
Last year he became only the second man to captain the Lions on two tours as he led the famous touring team to New Zealand.
He has spent his entire professional career with Cardiff Blues, making his debut for his hometown region in April 2009.
John Mulvihill, Head Coach of the Cardiff Blues said Warburton has 'nothing else to prove' in rugby.
He said: ''His class and achievements will stand the test of time. He is a Welsh rugby and Cardiff Blues legend and we all wish him and his young family much love, health and happiness in the future.''
Warren Gatland, who handed Warburton the Wales and British & Irish Lions captaincy, praised him as 'one of the best and respected players in the world'.
Fans, players and colleagues tweeted their praise and thanks to Warburton as he called time on his illustrious career.
- In 2013, Warburton became the first Welshman since Phil Bennett 36 years previously to be appointed British and Irish Lions tour captain.
- He led his country to the 2011 World Cup semi-finals in New Zealand only a few months after being appointed captain - Wales' best achievement on rugby's global stage for 24 years
- Captained Wales a record 49 times.
- He broke Ryan Jones' record for most appearances as Wales captain when he led his country for a 34th time against 2015 6 Nations opponents Ireland in Cardiff.
- Warburton was controversially sent off in the first half of the World Cup semi-final in 2011 against France - they were knocked out after a 9-8 defeat.
- Wales dropped out of the world's top eight after a last minute 14-12 defeat against Australia in 2011. Warburton's team were just 30 seconds from ending a long run of defeats.
- Injuries plagued parts of his career, with neck and knee operations forcing him to bow out of the game at just aged 29.