The journalist and former Somerset cricketer Peter Roebuck has been found dead at a hotel in Newlands in Cape Town.
A spokesman for the South African Police in Western Cape Province, Captain Frederik van Wyk, confirmed that a British citizen had killed himself, with reports suggesting Roebuck leaped to his death from his room on the sixth floor of the Southern Sun Hotel.
“I can confirm that this incident took place at 9.15pm on Saturday,” he said. “A 55-year-old British citizen was found dead in a hotel in Newlands, Cape Town. He was working as a cricket commentator for an Australian publication. He committed suicide. An inquest docket has been opened for investigation. I cannot say more at this moment.”
Roebuck, who was 55 and played alongside Sir Ian Botham and Sir Viv Richards at Somerset, had built a reputation as an acute observer of the game since retiring from playing in 1991, and wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age. He also worked as a broadcaster for ABC radio and had been covering Australia’s tour of South Africa.
According to a website report, Roebuck “appeared to be in a disturbed state last night” after being spoken to by police, who had removed personal items from his room. Ian Fuge, the Herald’s managing editor of sport described his colleague’s death as “a devastating blow to all at the Sydney Morning Herald, both professionally and personally,” describing Roebuck as “a wonderful writer who was the bard of summer for cricket-loving Australians.”
Craig Norenbergs, the ABC Grandstand manager, also paid tribute to Roebuck. “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,” he said.
Roebuck was known as a solid batsman, passing 1,000 runs in nine out of 12 seasons and was Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1988.