Source Pravda.Ru

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer dies during World Cup

Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer died in hospital on Sunday soon after he was found unconscious in his hotel room.

Pakistan lost in an upset to Ireland at the Cricket World Cup on Saturday, ending its chances of advancing in the tournament and almost ensuring the end of Woolmer's tenure as coach.

Mass outrage at the loss in Pakistan overnight soon turned to mourning when team officials announced Woolmer, 58, died within an hour of being rushed to University Hospital in Jamaica.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Naseem Ashraf said Woolmer had complained of breathing difficulties before the team left for the World Cup, and was diabetic.

"He informed me of this just before the team departed for the West Indies and I told him 'take care of yourself Bob'," Ashraf said in a Pakistani TV broadcast, adding that Woolmer sometimes wore an oxygen mask to sleep.

Ashraf said Woolmer's death was a "loss for the cricketing world."

"He was a thorough gentleman who instilled team spirit in the team. He was a very popular personality in our cricket team."

The cause of death was not immediately released.

Jamaica police confirmed Woolmer was pronounced dead at 12:14 p.m. local time after being taken to hospital by ambulance.

"Mr. Woolmer was found in his hotel room by cleaning staff shortly before noon in an unconscious state," the High Command of the Jamaica Constabulary Force said in a statement. "He was attended to by medical personnel at the hotel who also accompanied him to the hospital.

"A team of police and medical personnel is conducting preliminary investigations at both the hotel and hospital. A post mortem will be done at the earliest possible time."

Woolmer was survived by his wife, Gill, and two sons.

Pakistan team spokesman Pervez Jamil Mir said the Pakistan Cricket Board was waiting for Woolmer's relatives to arrive before making any arrangements.

"The Pakistan team and management are shocked and saddened by his passing," Mir said. "We extend our deepest condolences to his family."

West Indies captain Brian Lara, who was playing for Woolmer at English county Warwickshire when he scored his world record 501 not out in 1994, said he had a wonderful relationship with the Englishman.

"Our relationship continued to grow over the years even though we sat in different dressing rooms," Lara said. "He was a very focused man with a great love for the game but what shone through was the great love he had for players under his charge, everyone meant something to him."

International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed said Woolmer would be missed by "thousands and thousands of friends within cricket."

"He was a great cricket man. His life was devoted to cricket," Speed said. "He played, coached and commentated on the game all of his life."

Speed said the ICC was working in conjunction with the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Pakistan government on a tribute to Woolmer.

Woolmer, who played 19 test matches for England, worked as a coach on three continents, including a stint for the ICC helping developing cricket nations.

"Bob was very well regarded as a coach," Speed said. "He was very passionate about the game. Many of us had many heated discussions with Bob because he had strong views about the way the game should be developed and he played a very important role with us in those years."

Clive Lloyd, who led the West Indies to the first World Cup title in 1975 and is manager of the current team, said Woolmer "was a great guy and a really great coach."

"It's sad that such a tragedy should take place in the World Cup - I feel sad for his family."

England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive David Collier said Woolmer would be remembered fondly as a player for his 149 against Australia in 1975.

"The passing of Bob Woolmer in Jamaica today casts a sad shadow over the 2007 Cricket World Cup," he said. "Bob was one of the world's greatest coaches and as a player his innings of 149 lasting more than 8 hours against (Dennis) Lillee and (Jeff) Thomson demonstrated not only how talented a player Bob was but also his pride in wearing the England sweater."

But his impact as a coach was more immense, Collier said, reports AP.

"Bob will be best remembered as one of the world's leading coaches," he said. "He embraced innovation and was at the forefront of many new developments in the game."

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