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Bob Willis, a former cricket captain, whose friends included Stephen Fry and Elton, died last week.

David Gower, who succeeded him as England captain, said his former team-mate and commentary colleague had a “burning, bright passion for the game.”

 Ex-England fast bowler Darren Gough said the 70-year-old was “hugely admired around the world.”
Ian Botham described Bob as a “big brother” and “amazing friend” after his fellow former England captain and 1981 Ashes star lost his battle with cancer.

“He was a guy that, whenever I had problems in the cricketing world or in my personal life, he was always there to help me,” Botham recalled.

“He was like a big brother. There are certain friendships you have in your life but very few as close as it was with Bob.

“An amazing guy, great cricketer, very underestimated by a lot of people for many years. He was the best quick bowler I played with representing England because he was quick. He was a unique bowler, because you would never teach anyone to run up and bowl like that.

“I knew that he was very, very ill. I saw him last Thursday, went down and sat with him for a while, but when it actually happens it’s a major shock still. You can’t really be prepared for losing such a close, close friend.”

Elton also weighed in, writing on Instagram:
”I woke up in Adelaide to the sad news about Bob Willis. I spent many glorious times with him and the England team in Australia. A funny and gentle soul except when you had to face his bowling.

”My condolences to his family and loved ones.”

After retiring, Willis embarked on a second career as a cricket commentator.