Beloved Australian broadcaster Les Murray dies at 71

By @saihoops on
Les Murray
Australian broadcaster Les Murray (centre) Youtube Screen Grab / SBS

Les Murray, renowned sports journalist, soccer broadcaster and analyst, has died at the age of 71. Murray was the host of the popular "The World Game" on SBS television before retiring from broadcasting in July, 2014.

Murray, nicknamed Mr. Football, was inducted into the Football Federation Australia's (FFA) Hall of Fame for his services to the sport. He was the face and voice of the sport in Australia since the first free-to-air broadcast on SBS in the year 1980. The Belgian native had quit his position as chief football commentator following the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He continued to make guest appearances. 

Michael Ebeid, CEO and managing director of SBS, paid tribute to his “dear friend” via a statement. “No one better embodied what SBS represents than Les Murray. From humble refugee origins, he became one Australia’s most recognised and loved sporting identities.

“Not just a football icon, but a great Australian story and an inspiration to many, to say that his contribution to SBS and to football was enormous, doesn’t do it justice. This is a devastating loss for all of us at SBS. Our thoughts are with his family and all that loved him.”

According to The Huffington Post, Murray succeeded in his quest to bring the passion of Europe to the Australian football circuit. "Murray didn't just work for the world game -- he actually coined the phrase. Born in Hungary and emigrating to Australia as a young boy, he made it his life's work to bring the passion of Europe to the Australian football scene. And for the most part, he succeeded."

In the wake of the news, colleagues and football lovers tweeted condolences to the Les Murray family.