Tributes pour in for South African umpire Rudi Koertzen who has died aged 73

Former South African umpire Rudi Koertzen, who was part of the ICC's elite panel, has died in a car accident at the age 73.

Koertzen, along with three other people, passed away in the fatal accident while on their way from Cape Town to his home town of Dispatch in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

According to his son, Rudi Koertzen Jr, they were on their home from a golf weekend when the accident happened.

"He went on a golf tournament with some of his friends, and they were expected to come back on Monday, but it seems they decided to play another round of golf," Koertzen Jr told Algoa FM News, a South African website.

Koertzen was part of the ICC's elite panel of umpires for eight years from 2002 and officiated in 331 international matches, a record at the time of his retirement in 2010 which has since been broken by Pakistan's Aleem Dar.

Along with Dar and West Indies' Steve Bucknor, Koertzen was one of only three umpires to stand in over 100 Tests.

Koertzen was popular among international players and became famous for slowly raising his left arm and index finger to signal a batter's dismissal.

After his retirement in 2010, he published his autobiography titled Slow Death: Memoirs of a Cricket Umpire.

He stood in 108 Tests, the third most all time, while he also officiated in 209 ODIs - which includes the 2007 World Cup final.

South Africa wore black armbands on the opening day of their four-day tour match against England Lions at Canterbury while tributes have poured in from around the cricketing world.

The MCC led the way with words of praise for the much-loved umpire, a popular and admired figure in the sport.

"MCC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of honorary life member and former umpire Rudi Koertzen," it tweeted.

"Our thoughts are with his friends and family."

Former India batter Virender Sehwag hailed Koertzen's personal touch amid his focused officiating.

"Whenever I used to play a rash shot he used to scold me saying 'play sensible, I want to watch your batting'," Sehwag tweeted. "A gentleman and a very wonderful person."

Yuvraj Singh followed his fellow former India star Sehwag in offering social media condolences.

"Tragic news of the sudden passing away of Rudi Koertzen," he tweeted.

"He was a gifted individual and one of the finest umpires the game has witnesses, known for his sharp decision-making abilities.

"My deepest condolences to his family and well wishers."

Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara posted: "Saddened at the tragic loss of Rudi Koertzen. What a wonderful friend and umpire. Honest, forthright and loved the game. Shared many a beer at the bar talking cricket with him. RIP my friend."

Former Pakistan fast bowler and coach Waqar Younis wrote: "RIP to one of the best Umpire in the World Rudi Koertzen.

"I always enjoyed bowling from his end. Condolences to the family and friends #RipRudi"

Ex-Pakistan captain Wasim Akram tweeted: "Saddened to know about the sudden demise of umpire Rudi Koertzen. He was forthright and knowledgeable umpire, shared some wonderful moments with him on and off the field. My deepest condolences to the family. RIP."

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