Mark Taylor, Adam Gilchrist and Michael Vaughan have led tributes for former Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds after the 46-year-old was killed in a car-crash overnight.
Former Test batsman and Cricket Australia (CA) director Taylor called it “another tragic day for cricket”, as it followed the deaths earlier this year of Rod Marsh and Shane Warne.
“I actually can’t quite believe it, to be honest,” he told the Nine Network’s Wide World of Sports on Sunday.
“He just wanted to entertain… He wanted to go out there and have fun… That’s the way he lived his life,” he added.
Symonds, affectionately known as “Roy”, played 26 Tests and 212 limited-overs internationals for his country and was noted especially for his ferocious hitting in the middle order.
Gilchrist reacted with similar shock and sadness, tweeting a number of crying and heartbreak emojis followed by “This really hurts”. In a subsequent tweet, he wrote: “Think of your most loyal, fun, loving friend who would do anything for you. That’s Roy.”
Former England Test captain Vaughan simply tweeted: “Simmo .. This doesn’t feel real… #RIP” with a love-heart emoji.
CA confirmed the news on Sunday morning.
In a statement, CA chair Lachlan Henderson said Australian cricket had “lost another of its very best”.
“Andrew was a generational talent who was instrumental in Australia’s success at World Cups and as part of Queensland’s rich cricket history.”
“He was a cult figure to many who was treasured by his fans and friends,” he added.
“On behalf of Australian cricket our deepest sympathies are with Andrew’s family, team-mates, and friends.”
CA chief executive Nick Hockley called Symonds a “prodigious talent from an early age in Queensland with his clean ball-striking ability, shrewd spin bowling and brilliant fielding”.
News of the Symonds’ death broke overnight, with police confirming an investigation into the accident which occurred in north Queensland, some 31 miles north of Townsville.
In a statement, Queensland Police said: “Police are investigating a single-vehicle crash in Hervey Range, around 50 kilometres from Townsville, that’s taken the life of a 46-year-old man.
“Early information indicates, shortly after 11pm the car was being driven on Hervey Range Road, near Alice River Bridge when it left the roadway and rolled.
“Emergency services attempted to revive the 46-year-old driver and sole occupant, however, he died of his injuries.”