Cape Town - Clive Rice was a "fighter" who had a "heart the size of Africa", former South African great Mike Procter says.
Procter and the rest of the country heard news of Rice's death on Tuesday morning after the former South African all-rounder had battled a brain tumour.
Rice had undergone specialised laser treatment in India earlier in the year to treat the tumour.
Rice and Procter crossed paths many times in the 1970s and 1980s when Procter played for Natal and Rice for Transvaal, while they also met frequently on the English County circuit when Procter played for Gloucestershire and Rice turned out for Nottinghamshire.
"Clive was a fighter like you can’t believe and he proved that on the cricket field and he’s proved it over the past few months," said Procter after hearing the news of his friend's passing.
"He’s just got a heart the size of Africa. He’s a remarkable man. When he made up his mind to do things he did them. Everyone knew where they were going with him ... a fighter of note and a true, true gentleman."
Procter had chatted to Rice on the phone a couple of weeks ago, but he recalled a conversation they had shared earlier in the year after Rice had collapsed as a result of the tumour.
"He was always upbeat, there was never any negativity," said Procter.
"I remember saying to him when he collapsed ... I asked him how he was and he said ‘fine’. I reminded him that he was talking to me and that he could be honest ... he would not be negative at all ... and he was really battling. You had to extract it out of him.
"He was an incredibly positive guy."
Remembering Rice's abilities on the field, Procter pointed out that he would have achieved much more had he been allowed to enjoy a full international career while South African sport was in isolation.
Instead, Rice played just thee ODIs and no Tests for South Africa.
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"People forget that he would have been one of the top all-rounders in international cricket," said Procter.
"For some guys things come easy. Bowling was easier for him than batting. His batting when he started, he really struggled, he wasn’t a natural with the bat. He had to work really hard.
"He was such an inspirational guy. He never really showed too many emotions either way, he just got on with business. But he was great competitor."