SYDNEY (Australia) — Former Australia captain and legendary cricket commentator Richie Benaud has died at the age of 84.
Benaud died overnight at a Sydney hospice, surrounded by his wife, Daphne, and other family members. He had been fighting skin cancer since late last year.
A pioneering leg-spin bowler, Benaud played in 63 Tests, 28 as captain, before retiring in 1964 to pursue a career in journalism and broadcasting.
His final commentary in England came during the 2005 Ashes series, but he continued to work for Channel Nine in Australia until 2013.
The inventive commentator Richie Benaud was described as a “national treasure” in tributes from his fellow countrymen. Fans paid respect by placing bouquets of flowers under a bronze statue of Benaud in front of the Sydney Cricket Ground, while planning began for a state funeral which was offered to his family.
Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards said Benaud was “the iconic voice of our summer”, while the Australian government has offered to hold a state funeral.
Shane Warne, Australia’s record wicket-taker, made a particularly heartfelt contribution.
“Dear Richie, you were a legend on all levels and rightly so too,” said Warne. “As a cricketer, commentator and as a person, you were the best there’s ever been and, to top it off, an absolute gentleman.”
A veteran of 63 Test matches, Benaud played a pivotal role in the formation of World Series Cricket in the 1970s and was one of the world’s most recognised commentators.