England cricket great Bob Willis dies at 70
England cricket great Bob Willis has died at the age of 70 following an illness, his family have announced.
Willis took 325 wickets at an average of 25.20 in a 90-match, 13-year Test career and was one of England's greatest fast bowlers.
"We are heartbroken to lose our beloved Bob," read a widely reported statement from Willis' family.
"He was an incredible husband, father, brother and grandfather.
"He made a huge impact on everybody he knew and we will miss him terribly."
We're very sad to hear of the passing of MCC Honorary Life Member, Bob Willis.— Lord's Cricket Ground (@HomeOfCricket) December 4, 2019
A Lord's legend & former England captain whose name is on the Honours Boards three times.
Our thoughts are with his friends and family. pic.twitter.com/KgyQbHdYqq
He sits fourth in the all-time list of England Test wicket takers and also had an 18-match spell as the country's captain. His last international match was a Test against West Indies in July 1984.
Willis also played 64 ODIs and went on to become a popular pundit, starting a long broadcasting stint with Sky Sports in 1991, having previously worked with the BBC.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) released a statement which said it was "deeply saddened" and paid tribute to an "outstanding cricket career".
"We are forever thankful for everything he has done for the game," the ECB said.
"Everyone at the ECB sends sincere condolences to his family. Cricket has lost a dear friend."
England great Bob Willis 1949-2019— ICC (@ICC) December 4, 2019
May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/EsqgYX8qAL
Willis took 8-43 to star alongside Ian Botham in England's famous 1981 Ashes victory over Australia at Headingley, a third Test win which turned the series in the home side's favour.
At county level, Willis started at professional level with Surrey and went on to spend the majority of his career at Warwickshire.
Surrey said they were "devastated" at the news, while the MCC paid tribute to "a Lord's legend" and the ICC recognised an "Ashes hero".
All at Surrey County Cricket Club are devastated to learn of the passing of former Surrey and England bowler Bob Willis.— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) December 4, 2019
Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. pic.twitter.com/hTzuyNaz4X