International Cricket Council (ICC) president Percy Sonn died aged 57, the governing body announced in a statement on Sunday. Sonn spent several days in a Cape Town hospital following complications after a minor colon operation.
He was the first African to head the organisation. His death leaves the cricket body without a successor after England’s David Morgan and India’s Sharad Pawar tied in a recent vote.
ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said, “Percy’s mantra was that the game should be inclusive not exclusive; he relished modern cricket’s diversity.”
Sonn’s predecessor, Ehsan Mani said: “As a cricket administrator and a man, Percy Sonn was a giant.
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 proud to represent South Africa and the whole of Africa and he filled the role with dignity and strength.”
Australia’s World Cup winning captain Ricky Ponting added: “I am shocked and saddened to hear this news and 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 World Cup trophy to the Australia team. I have been told of his lifetime of service to the game in what, for many years, must have been difficult circumstances in South Africa. Cricket obviously owes him a huge debt.”
Indian cricket board (BCCI) president Sharad Pawar said, “Percy Sonn’s untimely death has come as a great shock.
On behalf of BCCI and on my personal behalf I extend my condolences to Mrs Sonn and her family,” Pawar said in a statement.
Born on September 25 1949, Percival Henry Frederick Sonn, known as Percy, dedicated much of his life to cricket and started his career as an administrator while still a teenager with his club side, Bellville South.
Sonn became ICC president in June 2006 after successfully heading the United Cricket Board of South Africa where he played a part in the integration of South Africa into the global game after the end of apartheid.
Away from cricket, Sonn was a lawyer and became a legal advisor to the South African Police Service. He leaves his wife Sandra and three children — a daughter and two sons.
The ICC said details of his funeral would be made public as appropriate. The ICC board will appoint an acting president. The board is due to meet in London next month.