Twenty20 star Luke Wright pays tribute to Tony Greig. Photo: Twitter
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Sports Minister Kate Lundy, dual statement: Australia has lost one of the iconic voices of sport with the passing today of Tony Greig.
Greig was a wonderful example of someone who came to Australia from somewhere else in the world and embraced his adopted country as his own. As a superb all-rounder, ambitious national captain and authoritative commentator over the best part of half a century, Greig's standing in the game is matched by very few others.
Most Australians would be deeply familiar with Greig the commentator, in particular his unique brand of colourful game-calling and entertaining banter with his Channel Nine colleagues. His life in cricket wasn't always without controversy, but no one could doubt his passion and commitment to the sport he loved.
Tony Greig devoted every ounce of his professional life to cricket, and the sport is much greater for his enormous contribution. Cricket has lost a giant today, but we're better as a sporting country for the life of Tony Greig.
The thoughts of the nation are with his wife Vivian and his children Mark, Sam, Beau and Tom as they grieve the loss of their husband and father.
James Packer, businessman and son of World Series Cricket creator Kerry Packer: "Tony Greig was a larger-than-life figure, who apart from his considerable talents as a cricketer and then a commentator, played an absolutely pivotal role in the success of World Series Cricket, which changed the game forever for the better.
"Tony stood shoulder to shoulder with my father at times when it was not always fashionable. And together with the backing of other key players and supporters they forged a brave new age for both cricketers and spectators alike. For that alone, every fan of the game is in Tony Greig’s debt.
"But he was much more than that. Our cricket enemy turned our mate – his famous car keys stuck in the pitch to demonstrate its hardness, and his legendary but friendly on-air barneys with the great Bill Lawry.
"We shall miss him dearly. And to Vivian and Tony’s daughters Samantha and Beau and sons Mark and Tom, I extend our family’s deepest and most heartfelt sympathies."
Test captain Michael Clarke: "I was only speaking with Tony a couple of days ago so news of his passing is absolutely devastating. Tony has a long and decorated history with international cricket both as a player and commentator and cricket will be much poorer for his loss. Personally, he has also been a great mentor for me, providing great advice through the good times and the bad. On behalf of the Australian Cricket Team our thoughts, prayers and wishes are with Greig family at this difficult time."
Tony Greig dead at 66
Former England captain and Channel 9 commentator Tony Greig has died after suffering a heart attack. Greig, who played a senior role in Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket revolution and was a distinctive voice in cricket broadcasting, was diagnosed with lung cancer in October. He was 66. Follow us at http://twitter.com/photosSMH Photo: Getty Images
Former Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee: "Tony was a tough opponent who took on all opposition with aggression and a determination to win. We will not forget the way he stirred the viewers in a similar vein to the way he did to opposition teams."
Greig's wife Vivian said in a statement: "Our family wants to extend our gratitude for the support and condolences we have received and would ask for privacy at this very sad time."
Former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist on Triple M radio: "Horrible, frightening news. It's just such a shock. The cricketing community in particular will be hit very hard by this."
Channel Nine chief executive David Gyngell in a statement: "It's a deeply upsetting time for his family and for everyone associated with Tony at Nine, and indeed for many, many others who came to know and love the man. He's not only been part of our family, but he's had a seat at the head of the table."
Former Australian pace bowler Glenn McGrath said on Twitter: "My thoughts are with Tony Greig's family today. RIP Tony Greig"
South Africa-born England player Matt Prior said on Twitter: "Can't believe one of my heroes Tony Greig has passed away. One of the greatest voices in cricket and will be sorely missed."
Australia coach, South Africa-born Mickey Arthur said on Twitter: "RIP-Tony Greig. A very good man!"
Pakistan coach and former Australian Test batsman Dav Whatmore said on Twitter: "Just landed in chennai and learnt of Tony Greig's passing. Deepest sympathies to his family. Great man, great career. He will be missed."
Kerry O'Keeffe, former Australia player, former WSC player, ABC Radio commentator said on Twitter: "Vale Tony Greig... a good man... a strong man... a trailblazer... a crash hat wearer. Pitch reporters have lost their patron... summer is poorer."
Nine News Sydney said on Twitter: "Tony Greig was a huge part of the Nine family, and he's been a larger-than-life, generous and inherently decent man."
Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards said in a statement: "He was a combative on-field rival of Australian cricket but became one of Australian cricket's firmest friends, with his long-running role as a Channel Nine commentator making him an Australian household name."
Former Australian wicketkeeper Rod Marsh said on ABC: "I don't know as a player whether he was an icon. I think in some ways he'll be remembered more for his commentary in Australia. I don't think that is a bad thing to say about him because he was very special as a commentator. He got the place alive and working, that Channel 9 commentary box. He loved the game and he served the game very well."
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell: "Tony Greig was one of the voices of cricket for a generation of Australian cricket supporters.
"Tony was a great cricketer and England captain. Despite the stick he got from Australian supporters, we admired his skill and in-your-face attitude.
Tony's toughness as a Test cricketer was only matched by the strength he displayed after he was diagnosed with cancer in October.
This year's summer of cricket won't be the same with Tony's passing.
"I extend condolences to his family, friends and colleagues."