Cricket-Australia's Bradman dies, aged 92
- 26 February, 2001 09:38
Sir Donald Bradman, the greatest batsman in test cricket history and Australia's most revered sporting figure, has died in Adelaide. He was 92.
The Director of the Bradman Foundation, Richard Mulvaney, said Bradman died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday.
"Sir Donald Bradman died yesterday morning, peacefully at his home, after a short illness with pneumonia," Mulvaney said.
Bradman is survived by his son John and his daughter Shirley. His wife Jessie died of cancer, aged 88, in September 1997.
When news of Bradman's death came early on Monday morning Australian television and radio broke into their regular programmes to announce his passing.
Australia's cricket-loving Prime Minister John Howard said he visited Bradman at his home on Friday after learning that he was gravely ill.
He said Bradman's death would be felt by the whole of Australia.
"I knew he was in very poor health," Howard said.
"He was more than just a great cricketer and a great sportsman, he was a dominant Australian personality in a way that I don't think any other person has been in the last 100 years.
"I want to express on behalf of the entire Australian nation our sympathy and send our love to the Bradman family and record the appreciation of the Australian people for a wonderful life which gave this country and the world the greatest cricketer and, according to many people who compare these things, perhaps the greatest sportsman in 100 years.
"He was a person who at a time of economic and social despair during the Depression lifted the spirits of the Australian people and gave them heart and a sense of belief in themselves."
Known simply as "The Don", Bradman became a national sporting icon during the 1930s and 1940s by rewriting cricket's record books by scoring 6,996 runs in 52 tests at an average of 99.94.
No other player before or since has come close to matching his batting average.
Bradman served as an Australian selector after his retirement but in later years he shunned publicity, making only occasional public appearances and agreeing to even fewer media interviews.
Asked during a rare television interview in 1996 to explain why his records have remaining unchallenged, The Don struggled for an answer saying: "I saw much better batsmen than I was. Lots of them...they just kept getting out".