Former Australia all-rounder and two-time World Cup winner Andrew Symonds has died following a car accident in Queensland, Cricket Australia (CA) said on Sunday.
Symonds was aged 46. He had played 238 matches, including 26 tests, for Australia between 1998-2009. He was also a member of Australia’s World Cup-winning teams in 2003 and 2007 and appeared in 198 one-day internationals in addition to 14 T20 Internationals.
Police said the accident occurred in Hervey Range, 50km from Townsville on Saturday night. The car Symonds was driving left the road and rolled, according to a police statement, which described it as a single vehicle incident.
Queensland Police said an investigation into the crash has been opened.
“Emergency services attempted to revive the 46-year-old driver and sole occupant, however, he died of his injuries,” the police statement said.
CA chairman 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 said in a statement.
“He was a cult figure to many who was treasured by his fans and friends,” he said. “On behalf of Australian cricket our deepest sympathies are with Andrew’s family, team mates, and friends.”
“Horrendous news to wake up to,” tweeted former Australian teammate Jason Gillespie. “Utterly devastated. We’re all gonna miss you mate.”
Adam Gilchrist, another former teammate and fellow commentator, wrote: “This really hurts,” while Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said he was “devastated”.
“We shared a great relationship on and off the field. Thoughts and prayers with the family,” he tweeted.
The larger-than-life Symonds was hugely popular, not only for his hard-hitting approach to the game but also for his easy-going personality.
He was widely considered one of the most skilled all-rounders Australian cricket has seen and was a key member of the team that won back-to-back 50-over World Cups in 2003 and 2007.
But he was also remembered for the infamous “monkeygate” scandal in 2008 that sent him into a downward spiral.
Symonds accused India spinner Harbhajan Singh of calling him a “monkey” in the 2008 New Year Test in Sydney.
Singh, who denied any wrongdoing, was suspended for three matches, but the ban was overturned when India threatened to quit the tour in what was a low point in India-Australia cricket relations.
The Australian player later revealed it took a heavy toll and he began drinking heavily.
His Cricket Australia contract was withdrawn in June 2009 after he was sent home from the World Twenty20 in England following the latest in a series of alcohol-related indiscretions.
Despite the animosity, Symonds and Harbhajan eventually made up and played together in the Indian Premier League.