In an unfortunate turn of events, prominent South African umpire Rudi Koertzen breathed his last on Tuesday after his car crashed in the morning in an area called Riversdale in South Africa. Koertzen along with his three friends were declared brought dead by the local authority after suffering head-on collision.
Initial reports have informed that the 73-year-old Koertzen, a resident of Despatch in Nelson Mandela Bay, was on his way back home from Cape Town after a golf weekend. Reports have further informed that Rudi's son, Rudi Koertzen Jr reportedly revealed that his father died on impact while he along with his friends were returning from golf weekend.
"He went on a golf tournament with some of his friend and they were expected to come back on Monday, but it seems they decided to play another round of gold," he was quoted in several local reports. Koertzen became an umpire in 1981 and officiated his first international fixture in 1992, during India's tour to South Africa.
Former Indian batter Virender Sehwag too shared his condolences on the demise of Koertzen and stated that he shared special relationship with the umpire. "Had a great relation with him. Whenever I used to play a rash shot, he used to scold me saying, “Play sensibly, I want to watch your batting," wrote Sehwag on Twitter.
At the age of 43, Koertzen made his debut in Test cricket in Port Elizabeth and it was also the first match when television replays were used to judge run-outs. In 1997, Koertzen was appointed as a full-time International Cricket Council (ICC) umpire. In 2002, he became a member of the elite panel and eventually became the second umpire in history after Steve Bucknor to officiate in more than 200 ODIs and 100 Tests.
In 2010, Koertzen retired from international umpiring after the Test match between Australia and Pakistan. Following his untimely demise, South African Men's cricket team has decided to wear black armbands during their 4-day practice match against England Lions on Tuesday in honor of Koertzen.