Eddie Butler, former Wales rugby union captain and journalist, dies aged 65

by 24britishtvSept. 15, 2022, 6:01 p.m. 15
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Eddie Butler, the former Wales rugby union captain who went on to become a much-loved writer and broadcaster, has died at the age of 65.

Butler was reported by the Prostate Cymru charity to have died in his sleep during a fund-raising trek in Peru.

“Ed was the voice of Wales and we were honoured to have him as part of our charity,” read a statement. “We will cherish the many memories we have of him. Over the last week Ed once again showed his generosity and steadfast commitment to good causes by joining 25 Prostate Cymru fundraisers, including his daughter Nell, on the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu.

“In the early hours of Thursday 15 September, Ed passed away peacefully in his sleep at Ecoinka base camp in the Peruvian Andes. He leaves behind his wife Susan and six children, who are very much in our thoughts. The charity will not be making any immediate further comment. We also ask that the family’s privacy is respected during this difficult time.”

Butler, who rose to prominence with Pontypool at the No 8 position in the 1970s, won 16 caps between 1980 and 1984, during which time he also toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions.

After rugby Butler had a short stint as a teacher, then with a property development company before finding another niche in journalism, becoming a much-respected figure with the Guardian and Observer, and broadcasting with the BBC. He would excel for the broadcaster in commentary on rugby, but also added colour to other major sporting events, notably Olympic coverage.

“For many Eddie was the voice of Welsh rugby and he will be sorely missed by supporters around the globe as well as his friends throughout the game and here at the WRU,” said Rob Butcher, the Welsh Rugby Union chairman. “He proudly represented his country as a player, was a mainstay in press boxes around the world long after he retired from the game and has been prolific in the way in which he has served Welsh rugby in both the written and spoken word over decades.

“He was a unique individual and the game in Wales owes him a debt of gratitude for his contributions both on and off the pitch.”

The former England hooker Brian Moore also paid tribute to his friend and BBC colleague on social media. “I am devastated by this news,” Moore tweeted. “Ed, I’m sorry I never told you how much I admired you as a broadcaster and as a man. Well, it wasn’t like that between us, was it. Condolences to Sue and your family. Sport has lost an iconic voice. I have lost a very dear friend. Goodbye Edward.”

Tim Davie, the BBC director general, added: “Everyone at BBC Sport is shocked and saddened by this very sad news. Eddie was a brilliantly gifted commentator, writer and reporter whose passion for the game of rugby union shone through every broadcast. A wonderful wordsmith with a rich, iconic voice, he provided the definitive soundtrack to some of the greatest moments in rugby’s history. He will be much missed by all of us, our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

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