Legendary cricket umpire Rudi Koertzen dies in road traffic collision in South Africa


Legendary cricket umpire Rudi Koertzen, 73, dies in road traffic collision in South Africa as tributes pour in for popular official who pioneered the ‘slow finger of death’

  • Legendary cricket umpire Rudi Koertzen has passed away at the age of 73 
  • The respected official was involved in a road traffic collision in South Africa 
  • Koertzen famously removed the bails after England’s Ashes victory in 2005
  • South Africa wore black armbands during the opening day vs England Lions 

Tributes have been paid to former international umpire Rudi Koertzen, the pioneer of the ‘slow finger of death’ out signal, who has died aged 73.

The respected official, who took charge of more than 100 Test matches between 1992 and 2010, was involved in a road traffic collision in South Africa.

‘Rudi suffered fatal injuries after an accident near Stilbaai between Cape Town and Gqeberha,’ said the family spokesperson via Fox Sports, who requested anonymity.

Legendary cricket umpire Rudi Koertzen has died after a road traffic collision in South Africa

‘My father went to a golf tournament with some friends and they were expected to come back on Monday, but it seems they decided to play another round of golf,’ his son Rudi told a Gqeberha radio station.

South Africa wore black armbands on the opening day of their tour match against England Lions at Canterbury.

The MCC led the way with words of praise for the much-loved umpire, a popular and admired figure in the sport.

‘MCC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of honorary life member and former umpire Rudi Koertzen,’ it tweeted.

‘Our thoughts are with his friends and family.’

The 73-year-old took charge of more than 100 Tests and retired from the sport in 2010

The 73-year-old took charge of more than 100 Tests and retired from the sport in 2010

South Africa cricket great Jacques Kallis tweeted: ‘Such sad news hearing the passing of umpire Rudi Koertzen. One of the gentlemen of the sport. RIP Oom Rudi.’ 

Former India batter Virender Sehwag hailed Koertzen’s personal touch amid his focused officiating.

‘Whenever I used to play a rash shot he used to scold me saying ‘play sensible, I want to watch your batting’,’ Sehwag tweeted. ‘A gentleman and a very wonderful person.’

Yuvraj Singh followed his fellow former India star Sehwag in offering social media condolences.

‘Tragic news of the sudden passing away of Rudi Koertzen,’ he tweeted.

‘He was a gifted individual and one of the finest umpires the game has witnesses, known for his sharp decision-making abilities.

Koertzen was renowned for his 'slow finger of death' out signal during his illustrious career

Koertzen was renowned for his ‘slow finger of death’ out signal during his illustrious career

‘My deepest condolences to his family and well wishers.’

Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara posted: ‘Saddened at the tragic loss of Rudi Koertzen. What a wonderful friend and umpire. Honest, forthright and loved the game. Shared many a beer at the bar talking cricket with him. RIP my friend.’

Former Pakistan bowler and coach Waqar Younis wrote: ‘RIP to one of the best Umpire in the World Rudi Koertzen.

‘I always enjoyed bowling from his end. Condolences to the family and friends #RipRudi’

Ex-Pakistan captain Wasim Akram tweeted: ‘Saddened to know about the sudden demise of umpire Rudi Koertzen. He was forthright and knowledgeable umpire, shared some wonderful moments with him on and off the field. My deepest condolences to the family. RIP.’

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