Legendary cricket commentator Richie Benaud has died this morning at age 84.
Reports the Herald Sun, Beanud died whilst receiving radiation treatment for skin cancer in Sydney hospice. He had been undergoing treatment since November last year. His family members were reportedly at his bedside.
Born in Penrith, Western Sydney, in 1930 Richie Benaud became well known across Australia for his role as a cricket commentator on Channel Nine, endearing viewers with his understated commentary and distinctive voice. Many referred to him as the “voice of summer”. He worked for both the BBC and News of the World before joining Nine.
As a player, Benaud led the Australian national cricket in the late 1950s, and played 63 Test matches as an all-rounder between 1952 and 1964. As the national captain he led the team to win back the Ashes in 1958/59 and then defended them twice. As a captain, Richie Benaud never lost a series. Famously he was the first cricketer to complete both 2000 Test runs and 200 wickets.
Reports The Australia, Benaud was involved in a car accident before the 2013/14 Ashes. His injuries included two fractured vertebrae and the combination of that and his ongoing treatment for skin cancer kept him out of the commentary box for the last two cricket seasons. He did however voice a brief, pre-recorded tribute to the late Phillip Hughes that aired at Adelaide Oval this summer.
“Richie Benaud’s passing has robbed us not only of a national treasure but a lovely man,” Nine Network CEO David Gyngell said in a statement.
“Richie earned the profound and lasting respect of everyone across the world of cricket and beyond. First as an outstanding player and captain, then as an incomparable commentator and through it all, as a wonderful human being.” Adds Australian Test captain Michael Clarke, “He was a great player and a great captain; a wonderful leader of men and he continued that off the field.”
Richie Benaud is widely revered as one of the most influential people in cricketing history.