Australian cricket great Andrew Symonds has died in a single-car crash at the age of 46, throwing the sport and the nation into mourning.
The retired all-rounder died at about 10.30pm on Saturday in Hervey Range, 50km west of Townsville in far north Queensland, when his vehicle left the road and rolled.
‘Emergency services attempted to revive the 46-year-old driver and sole occupant, however, he died of his injuries,’ Queensland Police said on Sunday morning.
The accident is under investigation.
Australian cricket great Andrew Symonds has died in a single-car crash at the age of 46, just over a decade after his stellar career came to a close
Retired all-rounder Symonds (pictured at the memorial for his great mate Shane Warne) died about 10.30pm on Saturday in Hervey Range, 50km west of Townsville, when his vehicle left the road and rolled
Symonds’ wife Laura (left) said she is still in shock over the news and is thinking of their children Billy, 2 (pictured) and daughter Chloe, 4
Symonds’ family confirmed his death and thanked friends and fans for their sympathy and support.
His wife Laura voiced her grief at the news on Sunday.
‘We are still in shock – I’m just thinking of the two kids,’ she told News Corp, referring to Symonds’ daughter Chloe, 4, and Billy, 2.
‘He was just such a big person and there was so much of him in his kids.’
She and the children flew to Townsville on Sunday morning.
His passing shocked the sporting world just a few weeks after Shane Warne suffered a fatal heart attack while on holiday in Thailand in March.
In a shock twist of fate, Symonds’ last Instagram post was a tribute to his teammate on March 5, hours after Warne’s death.
‘Devastated, I’m hoping this is all a bad dream I just can’t get my head around never seeing you again. Love to all the Warne family I’m speechless,’ he said.
The close mates spent last New Year’s Eve together at The Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda, along with their former teammate Michael Hussey.
Andrew Symonds (pictured right) famously knocked over a streaker who ran onto the field during a 2008 match against India in Brisbane
Symonds’ last Instagram post was a tribute to his great mate Shane Warne (pictured together in December 2020) after the spin king died aged 52 in March
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor was one of a host of sports stars to pay tribute to the man known fondly as ‘Roy’.
‘I can’t quite believe it,’ he said. ‘Another tragic day for cricket.
‘Bad things do happen in threes, Rod Marsh earlier this year, not long after that obviously Shane Warne and now Simmo.
‘I took Symo out one day fishing here on Sydney Harbour with ‘The Cricket Show’ many years ago and just watching him flow a fly lure around boats was great to watch. He was entertainer with the bat when it came to cricket.’
Symonds’ teammates Damien Fleming, Adam Gilchrist and Jason Gillespie also voiced their shock at the horrible news.
‘Horrendous news to wake up to. Utterly devastated. We are all going to miss you mate,’ Gillespie tweeted.
Gilchrist simply wrote, ‘This really hurts,’ while Fleming added, ‘This is so devastating. Roy was So much fun to be around.’
Allan Border, who led the national team in the 1980s and 90s, was also full of praise for the swashbuckling all-rounder.
‘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.’
Cricket commentator Isa Guha spoke for many when she wrote, ‘WTF is going on…’
Symonds was one of cricket’s most popular characters during his career, before he went on to work as a commentator for Fox Sports.
He played 26 Tests between 1999 and 2007 and was a critical member of Australia’s one-day side that won the World Cup in 2003 and 2007.
The star created a legacy as one of the best all-rounders in some of Australia’s greatest teams, as well as being regarded as the best fielder in the world at the peak of his powers.
Clarke and Symonds were still mates when they posed with the World Cup trophy after Australia’s win in 2007. A year later, they’d fallen out – with Symonds now revealing he believes money and jealousy helped fuel their rift
Symonds posted this happy snap of him with son Billy and daughter Chloe to Instagram in September 2020 with the caption, ‘Dad got the full treatment this morning was very nice thanks love you very much! Ah and I think it’s father’s day tomorrow too’
Born in Birmingham, England, he was adopted by English schoolteachers Ken and Barbara Symonds as a baby.
They emigrated to Australia when he was a toddler and the family lived in country Victoria before moving to far north Queensland and the Gold Coast.
Symonds’ British birth and his Afro-Caribbean background meant he could have played for England or the West Indies, but Australia was always going to be his first and only choice.
One of the world’s most spectacular players, he was an extremely aggressive batsman who displayed great power and timing, and his crafty off-break and medium-pace bowling claimed 24 Test wickets and another 133 scalps in one-dayers.
His career highlights include saving the 2006 Boxing Day Ashes Test for Australia with a stellar knock of 156 – his first century in the long form of the game – a high score of 162 against India in 2008, and taking a career-best 5/18 in a 2005 one-dayer.
At one stage he held the world record for most sixes during a first-class match, and opened fans’ eyes to what a batter could do in T20 cricket with a century from just 34 balls during the format’s infancy in 2004.
Symonds blasts the sort of powerful stroke he was known and loved for during Australia’s 2005 match against the World XI in Melbourne
Symonds was also arguably the best fielder in cricket, with lightning reflexes and an incredibly accurate throwing arm leaving him in equal fifth on the list of most run-outs in ODI cricket, with the fourth highest success rate.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who led the team for much of Symonds’ career, called him the best fielder he ever saw.
He sported distinctive brown dreadlocks for his entire career, as well as shielding his lips from the sun with glowing white zinc in what became his trademark look.
Symonds cemented his no-nonsense reputation in March 2008 when he flattened a streaker during the final of the ODI series against India at the Gabba.
‘It was frustration more than anything. I wasn’t trying to hurt him,’ Symonds said in the book ‘On Sport’, released by respected veteran sportswriter and Daily Mail Australia columnist Mike Colman.
Pictured: Andrew Symonds and Katie Johnson attend the Johnnie Walker All Star Party in 2008
Symonds (pictured left with NRL and All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams) was one of cricket’s most popular characters during the peak of his time in the game
Symonds teamed his hard-charging, flamboyant style with a larrikin spirit that saw him make headlines regularly.
He once arrived for a contract meeting with the CEO of Cricket Australia barefoot and wearing a cowboy hat in a nod to his famed love of the Aussie outdoors, especially the top end of the country where he spent so much of his life fishing and hunting.
Mark Taylor summed him up well soon after the news of his death broke.
‘He wanted to go out there and have fun and play the game he remembered to play it as a kid. At times he got in trouble for not going to training or maybe having a few too many beers but that is the way he lived his life and the way he wanted to play his cricket also.’
Not one to blindly toe the line for cricketing authorities, he fell out with his former mate and captain Michael Clarke, and the pair never reconciled.
Their mateship came to an end in 2008, when Symonds was sent home from a Test match in Darwin when he chose fishing over a compulsory team meeting. He felt Clarke – who was Test captain by then – had betrayed him.
Symonds couldn’t get enough of Australia’s tropical north. A keen fisherman and hunter, he often brought teammates to the top end of the country to experience life in the bush
To make matters worse, he’d already had a bad run-in with Clarke during a tour of the West Indies.
‘I threw a drink on him. He didn’t tell me to go to bed, he said something else but I threw a drink on him and what he said to me put me into a rage,’ Symonds said.
After he left the game in 2009, Symonds pursued his love of fishing, hunting and getting about in the Australian bush in the country’s tropical north.
He played himself in a Bollywood movie, starred on the Indian version of Big Brother, commentated for Fox Sports in Australia and even starred in some rugby league games after almost switching to the sport in 2002.