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Eddie Butler: Former Wales captain, British and Irish Lion player and rugby broadcaster dies aged 65

Butler made 16 appearances for Wales from 1980 to 1984 and was part of the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in 1983; Veteran broadcaster died in his sleep while on a charity trek in Peru

Last Updated: 15/09/22 6:41pm

Eddie Butler introducing the teams at a Varsity match in 2014

Former Wales rugby union captain and legendary broadcaster Eddie Butler has died aged 65.

The 16-cap Wales number eight, who captained the side on six occasions and scored two tries, died in his sleep while on a charity trek on the Inca Trail in Peru.

The popular commentator rose to prominence with Pontypool in the 1970s, before representing Wales between 1980 and 1984. Butler toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions in 1983, before forging a highly-respected career as a commentator and broadcaster.

Charity Prostate Cymru, for whom Butler served as an ambassador, said in a statement: “The Prostate Cymru charity is devastated by the passing of its much-loved ambassador Eddie Butler.

“Eddie was the voice of Wales and we were honoured to have him as part of our charity. We will cherish the many memories we have of him.

“Over the last week Eddie 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, September 15, 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.”

Butler represented Cambridge University from 1976 to 1978 while studying French and Spanish at Fitzwilliam College, then made his Wales debut in the 18-9 win over France in January 1980.

After rugby, Butler enjoyed a short stint as a teacher, then with a property development company before finding another niche in broadcasting. Butler moved on from spells with national newspapers to work for the BBC on rugby and major sporting events.

Former England captain Sir Bill Beaumont tweeted: “Eddie Butler was a true commentary great – the recognisable voice of the sport to millions & unrivalled in his storytelling behind the mic. Captain of Wales and a superb player, he was also a true gentleman.

“I am deeply shocked. My thoughts are with his family and BBC colleagues.”

Former England hooker Brian Moore also paid tribute to his friend and BBC colleague on social media, tweeting: “I am devastated by this news. 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.”

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