Former Somerset cricket captain turned writer and commentator Peter Roebuck has been found dead after apparently committing suicide.
The 55-year-old was in South Africa staying in the Southern Sun hotel in Newlands, Cape Town, whilst covering the Test Series against Australia for the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
South African police confirmed the incident is being treated as suicide, following reports the former Somerset opening batsman fell from the sixth floor of his hotel on Saturday night.
Unconfirmed reports suggested the 1988 Wisden Cricketer of the Year had been questioned by police over allegations of sexual assault, moments before he jumped to his death. In 2001 Roebuck pleaded guilty to common assault against three 19-year-old South African cricketers who had been staying at his home. He was given a suspended jail sentence.
Roebuck, who had written for the Sydney Morning Herald since 1984, had completed his final column for the paper in the aftermath of Australia's memorable defeat during the first Test at Newlands cricket ground on Friday, and had the spent hours prior to his death on Saturday socialising with members of the Australian cricket team.
"An incident occurred last night at about 9.15pm at a hotel in Claremont where a 55-year-old British citizen, who worked as an Australian commentator, committed suicide." Captain Frederick van Wyk of Cape Town police said in a statement.
Personalities from the world of cricket were quick to leave their tributes to the adopted Australian, whose straw hat and forthright views made him an instantly recognisable character in the press box and commentator circuit.
Former England captain and now broadcaster, Tony Greg wrote on Twitter: "The death of Peter Roebuck leaves the grass less green and cricket without its most effective investigative journalist."
ABC Grandstand manager Craig Norenbergs added: "For us he could describe a game of cricket in such a way that, even if you didn't like the game, you liked the way that he went about his business."
Gerald Majola, the chief executive of South African cricket, said in a statement. "CSA has lost a good friend. He was a fiercely independent critic but one who always endeavoured to serve the best interests of cricket and he set a new standard for cricket columnists around the world. We will all miss his contribution to the game."
While BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew paid tribute via his twitter page, saying: "My God. Just heard about Peter Roebuck. Loved working with him. Incisive. Erudite. Funny. Don't know the full story."
Born in Oxford, Roebuck captained Somerset during the 1980s and famously sanctioned the replacement of West Indian and Taunton legends Vivian Richards and Joel Garner in 1986, which led to Ian Botham's hasty and acrimonious departure to Worcestershire. He passed 1,000 runs nine times in twelve seasons and retired in 1991.