Richie Benaud is dead
Within hours of his death today (Thursday night Jamaica time), former Australia cricket captain and pioneering television commentator Richie Benaud was described as a "national treasure" and was praised by his peers, current players and the country's prime minister.
Benaud, 84, 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 veteran of 63 Test matches, Benaud later played a pivotal role in the formation of World Series Cricket in the 1970s and was one of the world's most recognised commentator, in Australia, where he anchored the Nine Network's cricket coverage for decades, and in Britain.
His time in the commentary box ended after a car crash in 2013 that left him with two fractured vertebrae.
"Richie Benaud's passing has robbed us not only of a national treasure, but a lovely man," Nine Network chief executive David Gyngell said in a statement.
Australian Test captain Michael Clarke said Benaud was a gentleman who played cricket in the right spirit.
"He was a great player and a great captain; a wonderful leader of men and he continued that off the field," Clarke said.
"He loved winning. He helped the Australian team have the attitude where they wanted to win. He played the game the right way."
Benaud, born in Penrith outside Sydney in 1930, was a wily leg-spin bowler and middle-order batsman whose career began in 1952 and ended in 1964.