Johannesburg - Gauteng cricket umpire Ntubuke Solomon (Solly) Pele died from an asthma attack on Tuesday, Gauteng Cricket Board said in a statement.
Pele, aged 37, started playing mini cricket at a young age and continued to play until adulthood when he became a member of the Soweto Cricket Club.
During 1998/99 he started umpiring and from 2001/2 officiated at Premier League level on a regular basis. In total he officiated in more than 600 matches of which more than 250 were in club matches. He also served as a member of the GCB Umpires’ Association from 2011.
Being a devoted member of the association, he had received numerous awards over the years including The Hayward Kidson award for dignity on and off the field, The Wadvalla Family award for overcoming adverse conditions, The Peacock Family award for dedication and loyalty.
“Solly sent such a strong message about devoting yourself to what you consider to be your passion and that cricket offers more opportunities outside of just playing the game," GCB president Thabang Moroe said.
"Gauteng Cricket will certainly miss his dedication and the lighter side that he brought to the playing field. My thoughts are with his family as they process this loss,” Moroe said.
Pele will be laid to rest on Sunday.