Global tributes have followed the death of former Australian Test cricketer Andrew Symonds, killed when his vehicle rolled off a rural road in Far North Queensland.
Nearby residents rushed to help the 46-year-old after hearing the crash late on Saturday night. He could not be revived.
“The cause of the accident hasn’t been established,” police Inspector Gavin Oates said on Sunday, confirming that the driver was flung from the vehicle when it rolled.
It’s believed Symonds was driving on Hervey Range Road, near Alice River Bridge about 50km northwest of Townsville, when his vehicle left the road. Police said there were animals travelling in the rear of the vehicle who were later cared for by friends and relatives.
Andrews’ family has asked for privacy. Wife Laura said she and children Chloe and Billy were in shock.
“He was such a big person and there is just so much of him in his kids,” she told News Corp.
“He was the most laid-back person. Nothing stressed him out. He was an extremely chilled operator. So practical.”
Cricket Australia chairman Lachlan Henderson described Symonds as a “generational talent”.
“He was a cult figure to many who was treasured by his fans and friends,” Henderson said in a statement on Sunday.
Former Australian captain Allan Border paid tribute to Symonds, who played 26 Tests for Australia and was a crowd favourite in the short format game as a big-hitting allrounder.
“He hit the ball a long way and just wanted to entertain. He was, in a way, a little bit of an old-fashioned cricketer,” Border told the Nine Network.
In recent years Symonds had worked as a TV commentator for Fox Sports and was a regular on the microphone for Big Bash League broadcasts.
“He was an adventurer. Loved his fishing, he loved hiking, camping,” Border said of Symonds.
Symonds, nicknamed “Roy”, was charismatic on the field, often wearing zinc cream and at times sporting dreadlocks.
“People liked his very laid-back style,” Border said.
“He lived in Townsville. When I spoke to him, I think he still had a hundred head of cattle he used to muster.
“Symo away from the cameras and away from the spotlight, loved, I think, a bit of solitude and that is why he loved his fishing. Loved his own time.”
Symonds’ death follows the shock demise of cricketing peer Shane Warne, who died in March in Thailand. Sunday’s news prompted a wave of tributes.
Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist tweeted “This really hurts. #roy #rip”.
Another former cricketer Greg Matthews offered: “such a pure man, so genuine, so earthy … so humble! G, another brother leaves us #rip”.
Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan wrote: “Simmo .. This doesn’t feel real .. #RIP”.
Crash investigators will prepare a report for the coroner into Symonds’ crash.