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Welsh rugby icon Eddie Butler dies at 65

By Associated Press

CARDIFF, Wales: Eddie Butler, a former Wales rugby captain who later forged a career as a highly respected commentator and broadcaster, has died. He was 65.

Butler’s death was announced on Thursday by the Welsh Rugby Union and the BBC, for whom he worked. Prostate Cymru, the health charity where Butler served as an ambassador, said he died in his sleep at a base camp on the Inca Trail in Peru. He was participating in a fundraising trek.

Butler was a No. 8 who played 16 times for Wales from 1980-84 and toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions in 1983.

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 excel for the BBC in commentary on rugby, but also adding color to major sporting events, notably Olympic coverage.

“For many, Eddie was the voice of Welsh rugby,” Welsh Rugby Union chairman Rob Butcher said, “and he will be sorely missed by supporters around the globe as well as his friends throughout the game and here at the WRU.

“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.”

Former England hooker Brian Moore paid tribute to Butler, who he commentated alongside for the BBC.

“Ed, I’m sorry I never told you how much I admired you as a broadcaster and as a man,” Moore said on Twitter. “Well, it wasn’t like that between us, was it.”

“Sport,” Moore added, “has lost an iconic voice.”

Butler’s death was announced on Thursday by the Welsh Rugby Union and the BBC, for whom he worked. Prostate Cymru, the health charity where Butler served as an ambassador, said he died in his sleep at a base camp on the Inca Trail in Peru. He was participating in a fundraising trek.

Butler was a No. 8 who played 16 times for Wales from 1980-84 and toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions in 1983.

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 excel for the BBC in commentary on rugby, but also adding color to major sporting events, notably Olympic coverage.

“For many, Eddie was the voice of Welsh rugby,” Welsh Rugby Union chairman Rob Butcher said, “and he will be sorely missed by supporters around the globe as well as his friends throughout the game and here at the WRU.

“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.”

Former England hooker Brian Moore paid tribute to Butler, who he commentated alongside for the BBC.

“Ed, I’m sorry I never told you how much I admired you as a broadcaster and as a man,” Moore said on Twitter. “Well, it wasn’t like that between us, was it.”

“Sport,” Moore added, “has lost an iconic voice.”

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