Richie Benaud, the celebrated commentator of Australian cricket, died at the age of 84 in a hospice in Sydney, Australia on Friday, April 10, 2015. Benaud suffered from skin cancer and has been receiving treatment for it since November 2014.
Channel Nine reports that Benaud’s family announced that he passed away peacefully in his sleep. Benaud revealed his illness and the radiation treatment that he has been undergoing in November 2014. He was being treated for skin cancer on the top of his head as well as his forehead. Benaud warned people to be vigilant in protecting themselves from the harsh rays of the sun. He also added that he never wore a cap when he was young and he wished that he had.
“I recommend to everyone they wear protection on their heads. Eighty-four-year-olds don’t seem to mend as well as they used to,” Benaud said in a report from BBC Sport.
Before becoming the official voice of Australian cricket, Benaud used to play the sport. He was born on Oct. 6, 1930 in Penrith, New South Wales, Australia. His father Louis played cricket for Penrith (Sydney Grade Cricket) and Cumberland. Louis helped his son Richie learn about cricket as well as practice his topspinners, googlies and leg breaks.
The younger Benaud debuted as a Test cricket all-rounder on Jan. 25, 1952. He became Australia’s Test captain in 1958 and never lost a series during that time. Benaud was the first player to score 2,000 Test runs. He also took 200 Test wickets and played 63 Tests for Australia.
He became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE in 1962 because of what he has done for cricket. He was also named Wisden Cricketer of the Year at that time. Benaud was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985. On Feb. 12, 1964, Benaud retired from playing cricket and went on to become a commentator for the sport until 2013.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott remembered Benaud fondly and spoke to ABC radio about offering a state funeral for him. He also tweeted about it in his official Twitter account.
“A sad day for Australia. We have lost a cricketing champion and Australian icon. What an innings. RIP Richie Benaud,” Prime Minister Abbott posted on Twitter.
Benaud is survived by his wife Daphne Surfleet whom he married in 1967. He also had two sons from a previous marriage.