One of the pet dogs of Andrew Symonds refused to leave his side in his final moments, an eye-witness has revealed.
The former Australian cricket star was involved in a tragic car crash in Queensland this weekend, with police confirming: “Emergency services attempted to revive the 46-year-old driver and sole occupant, however, he died of his injuries.”
Their statement also added: “The forensic crash unit is investigating.” Early investigations suggested that Symonds’ car “left the roadway and rolled”. He was the only human in the vehicle, but his two blue heeler dogs were with him and survived.
Since the harrowing news, tributes have poured in for the man who was involved in two ODI World Cup wins and an Ashes triumph with the Baggy Greens. And now Babetha Neliman, who with boyfriend Waylon Townson were quickly on the scene, have described how one of the dogs was protective of the star.
“When we got there we could see a car upside down with a man in it,” Babetha told the Courier Mail. The country music Symonds had been listening to was still playing, while both dogs had escaped.
“One of them was very sensitive and didn’t want to leave him,” she continued. “It would just growl at you every time we tried to move him or go near him.” In an Instagram post from eight years ago, Symonds called his blue heeler puppy his ‘new best mate’
“Think I have found my new best mate what u reckon,” he wrote. The post reeled in more than 500 likes, and some followers revisited it on Sunday following the news.
Symonds played 26 Tests, 198 one-day internationals and 14 Twenty20s for Australia between 1998 and 2009. And a host of former teammates have taken to social media to pay their respects.
Adam Gilchrist wrote: “Think of your most loyal, fun, loving friend who would do anything for you. That’s Roy.” Jason Gillespie added: “Horrendous news to wake up to. Utterly devastated. We are all gonna miss you mate.”
Former Australian national team player and head coach Darren Lehmann posted: “Look after yourself up there great man. Loved him so much and our thoughts are with the family at this time.”
TV presenter Piers Morgan was another to offer words of tribute, saying: “Devastating news to wake up to… another Australian cricket legend taken from us way too soon.
“Andrew Symonds, 46, killed in a car crash just two months after his great mate Shane Warne died. Magnificent all-rounder, wonderful character, Aussie sporting icon. RIP ‘Roy’.” The nick name ‘Roy’ originated from fellow players thinking he looked similar to premier Brisbane Bullets basketball star Leroy Loggins.