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Former Australia cricket captain and 'voice of cricket' Richie Benaud dies

Former Australia captain Richie Benaud, celebrated as the "voice of cricket" in the commentary box, has died at the age of 84. He had been fighting skin cancer.

Benaud, who achieved fame both on and off the field, died peacefully in his sleep at a Sydney hospice late on Thursday, his employer Channel Nine said, citing family sources. Benaud was 84 and had been fighting a battle with skin cancer.

"Richie Benaud's passing has robbed us not only of a national treasure but a lovely man," Nine Network chief David Gyngell said in a statement.

"Richie earned the profound and lasting respect of everyone across the world of cricket and beyond. First as an outstanding player and captain, then as an incomparable commentator and through it all, as a wonderful human being."

The network described Benaud as a member of the family.

The leg-spinning all-rounder never lost a series as captain, and led his side to three successive Ashes series victories in the 1950s and 1960s.

He played 63 tests for Australia and was the first player to score 2,000 test runs and take 200 test wickets.

After he retired in 1964, Benaud moved into the commentary booth, first with the BBC in England, before becoming the mainstay of Australian cricket television commentary.

He announced in November 2014 that he was fighting skin cancer.

rc/lw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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