Peter Roebuck, the former captain of English county Somerset and one of the finest cricket writers of his time, was found dead at the age of 55 in his hotel in South Africa, the Sydney Morning Herald said on Sunday.
Roebuck, who scored more than 17,000 first class runs, was instrumental in the departure of West Indians Viv Richards and Joel Garner, as well as England captain Ian Botham, from Somerset during his tempestuous reign as captain in the late 1980s.
After retiring from the game in 1991, Roebuck moved to Australia and forged a career as a stylish and strongly opinionated cricket writer for the Herald, Melbourne's the Age and latterly the hugely popular Cricinfo website.
"Peter was a wonderful writer who was the bard of summer for cricket-loving Australians," said Ian Fuge, the Herald's managing editor of sport. "He was also an extraordinary bloke who will be sorely missed."
Roebuck, whose straw hat made him instantly recognisable in the press box, was in Cape Town covering Australia's Test series against South Africa.
"It is believed he was spoken to by police earlier in the day," the Herald report of his death said.