Legendary cricket commentator Richie Benaud dead!

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 08:40 GMT, Apr 10, 2015 |

Former Australia cricket captain and television commentator Richie Benaud has died at the age of 84, his former employer Channel Nine and Cricket Australia said Friday. Benaud, considered one of the most influential cricket identities of the past century, had been fighting skin cancer and died overnight in a Sydney hospice today. 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, anchoring the Nine Network’s cricket coverage for decades and calling the game in many countries around the world.

He passed away aged 84 in a hospice in Sydney, Australia. He had been receiving treatment for skin cancer since November. Benaud played 64 Test matches for Australia as an all-rounder between 1952 and 1964. He began commentating with the BBC while still captaining the Baggy Greens in 1960. He worked for the Corporation for many years before moving to Australia’s Channel 4 in 1999. Benaud chose to end his British commentary career which spanned more than 42 years, when the rights to broadcast live Test match cricket were lost by Channel 4 to Sky. The 2005 Ashes series was the last that Benaud commentated on in Britain.

His final commentary came near the end of the final day of the Fifth Test at The Oval. Benaud made his cancer public at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Novembe He had been absent from the commentary box since a car accident near his Sydney home in 2013. Benaud said he was receiving treatment for skin cancers on his forehead and the top of his head. “I’m coping with it very well – the doctors are pleased,” he said at the time.

“I’m going along slowly. “The cancers need to be treated.” Former Australia fast bowler Brett Lee was among the first to pay tribute. He wrote on Twitter: “Very sad to hear the news today of the passing of Richie Benaud. “What a legend of a cricketer and broadcaster.” And ex-Australia opening batsman Michael Slater tweeted: “I’ve never been around a more revered person! “A true LEGEND! 

Later generations knew Benaud best as a commentator and presenter. His witty observations he once described Glenn McGrath as being dismissed “just 98 runs short of a century” and elongated vowel pronunciations were much impersonated. “The only thing that annoys me about that is if I suddenly find someone on commercial radio or something like that, mimicking my voice or actions and trying to promote a product and pretending it’s me doing it.” Benaud said. Benaud was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1961 for services to cricket and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985. In 2007, he was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame and two years later was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.New South Wales state Premier Mike Baird ordered flags to be flown at half-mast and offered a state funeral.