Sydney - Flamboyant former England cricket
captain and television commentator Tony Greig died of a heart attack on Saturday at the age of 66, as he battled lung cancer.
African-born Greig had only recently been diagnosed with cancer and
suffered a cardiac arrest at his Sydney home, dying shortly afterwards.
"Tong Greig passed away at St Vincent's Hospital of cardiac arrest at 04:45 SA time," hospital spokesperson David Faktor said.
was rushed to St Vincent's and staff at the emergency department worked
on Mr Greig but to no avail. I understand his family was with him."
who worked for Australia's Nine Network for decades, first became aware
of his illness during Australia's one-day series against Pakistan in
Dubai in August and September.
On his return to Sydney, he had
fluid removed from his right lung and tests revealed he had cancer, said
the network, which described Greig as a "beloved" character.
Greig is a name synonymous with Australian cricket - from his playing
days as the English captain we loved to hate, to his senior role in the
revolution of World Series Cricket, his infamous car keys in the pitch
reports and more than three decades of colourful and expert commentary,"
Last month, Greig spoke to the network's cricket
commentary team, of which he was a member, during their coverage of the
first Test between Australia and South Africa in Brisbane.
not good. The truth is I've got lung cancer. Now it's a case of what
they can do," he said at the time, ahead of an operation.
played 58 Tests for his adopted country England between 1972 and 1977,
scoring 3 599 runs with eight centuries at 40.43 and captured 141
wickets at 32.20.
He captained England in 14 Tests and also played in 22 one-day internationals.
was a controversial, swaggering figure throughout his career, once
prompting a storm of criticism when he promised to make the West Indies
"grovel" ahead of their 1976 tour of England, evoking the spectre of
He was instrumental in the formation of late Australian
media tycoon Kerry Packer's breakaway World Series Cricket (WSC) contest
staged from 1977-79, which sent shockwaves through the sport.
helped secure the signings of a number of English and other foreign
players to the rebel series, launched in response to the Australian
Cricket Board's refusal to give Packer's Nine Network exclusive Test
The series featured stars such as Dennis Lillee,
Imran Khan, Greg and Ian Chappell, Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd and
left a lasting legacy on the game, including improved financial rewards
Greig's involvement caused an abrupt end to his
international career and in the 1980s he joined the Nine Network's
cricket commentary team along with former Australian captains Richie
Benaud, Ian Chappell and Bill Lawry.
"When he played cricket, he was big and he did big things," Benaud said.
he didn't care about anyone else who was bigger or perhaps might even
be faster or anything like that. He would just get in there and fight."
His old Australian adversary Lillee described him as a "tough opponent
who took on all opposition with aggression and a determination to win".
"He had a take-no-prisoners attitude which helped him lead England with flair and toughness," he said.
was a genuine all-rounder who in turn was an integral part of World
Series Cricket's success. Once his playing days were over Tony offered
an insightful commentary. He will be sadly missed."
fast bowling great Glenn McGrath tweeted: "My thoughts are with Tony
Greig's family today. RIP Tony Greig," while current Australian team
coach Mickey Arthur said: "RIP - Tony Greig. A very good man!"
"RIP Tony Greig!! You have left a
great footprint on the world of cricket. My condolences to the Greig
family," retired West Indies batting great Brian Lara said in a post on
his Twitter account.
"Not only was he a wonderful player and a
very successful player for England, I think he was a wonderful guy,"
Australia captain Michael Clarke told Australian television.