Former England captain and prominent cricket pundit Tony Greig has died of a heart attack at the age of 66, Australian media reported on Saturday.
"In sad news, beloved Tony Greig, former England Cricket Captain has passed away today at the age of 66. To his family and friends we pass on our best wishes," broadcaster Channel Nine, which employed Greig as a cricket commentator, said on Twitter.
Former Indian cricket Sanjay Manjrekar and fellow commentator was still in shock.
"Still recovering from the news of Tony Greig passing away...absolutely shocking !!," (@sanjaymanjrekar)
"Salute to Tony Greg. He made little Sri Lanka reach great heights in cricket," tweeted a Sri Lankan journalist Ameen Izzadeen (@ameenizzadeen)
A Sri Lankan cricket blogger Sidath Sameera tweeted "May you attain nibbana Tony Greig ! Cricket won't be the same again without your voice ………" (@chandimalogy)
Greig was a household name in Sri Lanka famously predicting that Sri Lanka would win the 1996 World Cup.
"Saddened to hear the passing away of Tony Greig, RIP. Great commentator, mentor, player & friend will be missed by the cricketing family," tweeted former Aussie cricketer Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket)
Australia legend and fellow Channel Nine commentator Richie Benaud tweeted "Vale Tony Greig. A true pioneer both on and off the field. A friend and the glue of the commentary team. Already sorely missed." (@RichieBenaud_)
One of favourite lines of Greig when the crowd goes into raptures was "they are dancing in the aisles."
ESPN Cricinfo tweeted "They're dancing in the aisles in Sharjah!" Those words will never be repeated with the same passion. #RIP Tony Greig." (@ESPNcricinfo)
Hemant Buch perhaps summed up why Greig was a universal figure.
"Born in SA, captained Eng, lived in Aus, supported SL..fine cricketer and as good a commentator RIP #TonyGreig." (@hemantbuch)
Cricket statistician Mohandas Menon also tweeted "Born in South Africa, played cricket for England & died in Australia, truely a citizen of the world - Tony Greig. RIP" (@mohanstatsman)
An Australian fan Mark Garwood posted the following commentary which has been retweeted as the favourite piece by Greig.
"RIP #tonygrieg summer will never be the same again! My fave piece of Tony Greig commentary." (@TassieMark)
Tributes flowed for Greig on Twitter.
A Sri Lankan fan Nicholene Outschoorn tweeted "Cricket has lost someone we all loved... We Sri Lankans will always remember you sir...," (nicholene91)
A Pakistan fan Muhammad Bilal tweeted "RIP Tony Greig. One of the best commentator. You will be missed." (@Bilal_Mubi)
Another cricket fan Prabhash Rajarathne tweeted "RIP Tony Greig! No one can add so much passion to the game like Tony did. You will be dearly missed.." (@rPrabash)
Greig, who played 58 Tests for England, was diagnosed with lung cancer in October.
The South Africa-born Greig made his Test debut for England against Australia in Manchester in 1972 and amassed 3,599 runs for an average of 40.43 until his last match at the Oval against the same opponents in 1977.
An imposing figure standing at 6ft-6in, Greig was also a successful bowler with 141 test wickets at an average of 32.20.
Greig's captaincy ended in controversy when he was stripped of the post for his role in helping late Australian businessman Kerry Packer set up World Series Cricket in the 1970s.
Greig, a long-time resident Down Under, became a summer fixture in Australian lounge-rooms as a commentator for Channel Nine's international cricket coverage, among a number of roles in the media.
Greig, who worked for the broadcaster, first became aware of his illness during Australia's one-day series against Pakistan in Dubai in August and September, it said.
Initially diagnosed with bronchitis in May, the condition lingered and, by the time of the ICC World Twenty20 that finished in Sri Lanka in October, Greig had tests that revealed a small lesion at the base of his right lung.
On his return to Australia he had fluid removed from the right lung and testing revealed he had lung cancer.
Last month, he spoke to the Channel Nine commentary team, of which he is usually a member, during their coverage of the first Test between Australia and South Africa in Brisbane.
Greig was candid about the disease.
“It’s not good. The truth is I’ve got lung cancer. Now it’s a case of what they can do,” Greig said.
He had on operation later that month.
Cricket fanatic Les Faber tweeted "A Great commentator! (UTube courtesy of tweet by @CricketAus) Commentated like a tracer bullet for 33 yrs." (@LeskaFaber)
TONY GREIG FACTFILE
Former England cricket captain Tony Greig, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in October, died on Saturday after suffering a heart attack at his Sydney home.
Here is a run-down of his career:
* Born on Oct. 6, 1946 in Queenstown, South Africa to a Scottish father.
* He Started his first-class career for Sussex and prospered as an all-rounder.
* He made his Test debut for England in the home Ashes series against Australia in 1972 at Manchester.
* A towering figure at 6ft-6in (1.98m), Greig played 58 Tests for England, scoring 3,599 runs at an average of 40.43.
* He scored eight Test hundreds and 20 fifties.
* He also took 141 Test wickets at an average of 32.20.
* Greig played 22 ODIs, scoring 269 runs and taking 19 wickets.
* Equally proficient against pace and spin, the right-handed batsman captained England in 14 Tests but his international career lasted just five years.
* He played his last Test against Australia at The Oval in August 1977 and was subsequently dropped for his role in helping late Australian business tycoon Kerry Packer set up the World Series Cricket.
* Greig, along with former Australia captain Ian Chappell, was one of the key players and recruiters of the rebel series which shook international cricket in the late 1970s.
* A noted cricket pundit known for his strong opinions, Greig later settled down in Australia and became a popular voice as a commentator for Channel Nine's international cricket coverage, among a number of roles in the media.
* He was easily recognisable in the commentary box due to his booming voice and big hat.
* Diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2012
* Died at the age of 66 in Sydney on Dec. 29.