WORCESTERSHIRE County Cricket Club's academy director Damian D’Oliveira has died after a two-and-a-half year battle with cancer.
The club announced the death of the 53-year-old, who was the son of Worcestershire and England legend Basil D’Oliveira, in a statement on its website this morning.
During his career with WCCC between 1982 and 1995 he scored more than 9,000 first-class runs, with a top score of 237.
In his role as academy director he was responsible for the discovery of many of the current first team squad, including his own son Brett.
Former club chairman Duncan Fearnley paid tribute to Mr D’Oliveira, calling him “an exciting batsman (and) a decent county player”.
"I knew Damian from when he was only a few years old when Basil and the family came to Worcestershire in the middle 1960s,” he said.
"They bought the house across the road from me and our kids grow up playing cricket on the outfield at New Road.
"It's just so sad and like the rest of his family he has given his life to cricket and to Worcestershire.
"He had a good career here – he loved this club like his Dad did.
"His name will live on through the players out there now in the first team.”
He leaves behind wife Tracey as well as sons Brett, Marcus and Dominic.
His father Basil, who died in November 2011 aged 80, played for England between 1964 and 1980 and made headlines when the 1968 tour of South Africa – where he was born – had to be called off after the apartheid regime refused to allow a non-white player into the country.
WCCC president John Elliott, who was close friends with Mr D'Oliveira, described him as “a superb guy”.
"It is a very sad moment for Tracey and the family and are thoughts are with them,” he said.
“I have wonderful memories of great times with Damian.
"One of the nicest times was recently when I went up to his house and had a nice quiet drink with him. That memory will live with me for a long time.”
The current Worcestershire team were informed of his death shortly before the start of today’s LV County Championship match with Glamorgan at New Road and a minute's silence was held before play began. The team is also wearing black armbands in his memory.
Twitter tributes to Damian D’Oliveira: