Johannesburg: Renowned cricket writer Peter Roebuck committed suicide in his hotel room, South African police said on Sunday.
England-born Roebuck, 55 and a former first-class cricketer, was covering the ongoing Test series between South Africa and Australia.
Capt. Frederik van Wyk, a spokesman for the South African Police in the Western Cape province, confirmed that a British citizen had been found in his room having committed suicide. “I can confirm that the incident took place at a quarter past nine on Saturday,” said van Wyk.
Memorable accounts: Roebuck.
“A 55-year-old British citizen was found dead in a hotel room in Newlands, Cape Town. He was working as a cricket commentator for an Australian publication. He committed suicide. “An inquest docket has been opened for investigation. I cannot say more at the moment.”
He wouldn’t confirm media reports that Roebuck was spoken to by local police earlier on Saturday and that people had seen him in an agitated state following that.
Roebuck studied law at Cambridge and played 335 first-class matches before making a career writing about the sport, quickly establishing an avid following with his forthright, intelligent prose.
He regularly commentated for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and wrote for the nation’s Fairfax newspapers.
“It is with great shock that we have learnt today that Peter Roebuck has died in Newlands, South Africa,” Fairfax chief Greg Hywood said in a statement.
“Peter was not only an extremely gifted cricket writer for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, he was also one of Australia’s most popular cricket commentators for ABC,” added Hywood. “In recent years he built a reputation as one of the best columnists on the sport.”
Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland expressed shock at the death of Roebuck, a “familiar face” to the Australian cricket team, who had been with the players “only hours before his sudden death”.
“He spoke his mind frankly and while one didn’t necessarily always have to agree, you always respected what he had to say,” he added.
Craig Norenbergs, head of the ABC’s Grandstand sports programme, said it was “incredibly sad news”.
“He was an integral part of the Grandstand commentary team, apart from being a magnificent print journalist,” Norenbergs said.