Former international umpire Rudi Koertzen was reported dead on Monday after being the victim of a car accident while returning from a golfing getaway in Cape Town. The sad news of his passing has led to many tributes from former players, fans and cricket institutions around the world.
Acclaimed South African umpire Rudi Koertzen suffered his demise on Sunday, succumbing to injuries sustained in an unfortunate car crash. His son Rudi Koerzen Jr. conveyed the news, who confirmed the legendary cricketing figure had departed at the age of 73.
“He went on a golf tournament with some of his friends, and they were expected to come back on Monday, but it seems they decided to play another round of golf,” he was quoted saying by NDTV.
Koertzen began his officiating career in 1981, before becoming a full-time umpire in 1992 which was also when he stood in his first international match. Over the next 18 years, he would go on to umpire in 108 Tests and 209 ODIs, the latter of which remains a record to this day. His last international game was a Test match between Australia and Pakistan in 2010, after which he called it quits on an illustrious career.
In 2005 and 2006, he finished on the podium for the ICC Umpire of the Year Award after being voted the top umpire in 2002. Koertzen had officiated as the third-umpire in both the 2003 and 2007 ICC World Cup finals and was also a regular member of the umpiring contingent for landmark encounters such as The Ashes and the India-Pakistan bilateral series.
Marylebone Cricket Club, the body responsible for establishing and regulating the sport’s laws, tweeted their commiserations to the South African’s family.
“MCC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of honorary life Member and former umpire, Rudi Koertzen. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.”