ICC president passes away


Dubai : International Cricket Council president Percy Sonn has died at the age of 57, the sports body announced here Sunday.

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Sonn was hospitalised in Cape Town a few days ago following complications after a minor colon surgery.

Born on Sep 25, 1949, Percival Henry Frederick Sonn dedicated much of his life to cricket.

Beginning his career in the game's administration while he was still a teenager in South Africa, in the midst of the Apartheid regime, Sonn rose to head the top cricket body last year.

He leaves his wife Sandra and three children – a daughter and two sons – as well as his mother, six brothers and a sister.

Leading figures throughout the world of cricket joined in paying tribute to Sonn.

Sonn's predecessor Ehsan Mani said: "As a cricket administrator and a man, Percy Sonn was a giant. In all the circles in which he moved, he commanded a huge amount of respect and that was never more obvious than when he was in an ICC board meeting.

"Percy never spoke for the sake of it but when he did speak people listened. He was one of the most intelligent men I have ever met and cricket will be much the poorer for his passing," Mani said, according to an ICC release here Sunday.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) president Ray Mali said: "This is a terrible shock and a devastating piece of news as I have lost a close personal friend.

"I know Percy was so proud to represent South Africa and the whole continent of Africa as the ICC's first president from this part of the world and he filled the role with great dignity and strength."

ICC CEO Malcolm Speed said: "Percy was utterly committed to the game at all levels and his mantras were that the game had to be inclusive rather than exclusive and that it had to be played the right way, to be true to the Spirit of Cricket.

"He relished the fact that this year's ICC Cricket World Cup took place in the Caribbean because the nine countries that hosted the tournament mirrored the game's diversity on a worldwide level, something he saw as a real strength."

Captain of the ICC Cricket World Cup-winning Australia team Ricky Ponting, speaking from Sydney, said: "I am shocked and saddened to hear this news and first and foremost my thoughts are with Percy's family and friends.

"I will always associate Percy with one of the happiest moments of my career as he was the man who handed over the Cricket World Cup trophy to the Australia team at the end of the tournament in Barbados last month.

The ICC release said that under the organisation's Articles the ICC board will appoint an acting president until an election can be held.