New details have emerged of the crash that claimed the life of Australian cricket legend Andrew Symonds.
The former Test and limited-overs star died on Saturday night when his car left the road and rolled in Hervey Range, about 50 kilometres from Townsville.
As tributes for the star cricketer flowed from across the globe, Waylon Townson told how he tried to save Symonds after hearing the crash and rushing to the scene.
“He was stuck in there, so I tried to pull him out,” Mr Townson told 9News.
“[I] started doing CPR and checked his pulse but I didn’t get much response.”
News Corp was also reporting on Monday on what it said was Symonds’ final text message, sent just two hours before the fatal crash.
The company says Symonds, who was off contract with Fox Cricket, messaged to Fox Sports boss, Steve Crawley. The message included screenshot of a story about Tom Brady’s staggering $A540 million broadcasting deal with Fox Sports in the US.
“Crawls, we need to talk. Roy,” the text read.
Crawley reportedly responded with a laughing emoji.
Elsewhere, a ‘Fishing Rods for Roy’ campaign was launched on Monday to honour the former Australia Test star.
Cricket fans have been encouraged to leave fishing rods and cricket balls outside the front of their houses as part of a nationwide tribute for the 46-year-old.
His love of fishing was the stuff of folklore, with Symonds even sent home from an ODI series against Bangladesh in 2008 after missing a team meeting in Darwin so he could hit the water.
Symonds had even been willing to accept a 20 per cent pay cut from his Cricket Australia contract if it meant he would be granted more free time to go fishing.
Police confirmed Symonds was flung from his vehicle when it rolled in Saturday’s crash.
“The cause of the accident hasn’t been established,” police Inspector Gavin Oates said on Sunday.
Symonds was travelling with his two dogs, and they reportedly didn’t want to leave his side after the crash.
Former teammates and rivals alike paid tribute to Symonds once the news of his death was made public.
“If Roy shook your hand you had his word, that’s the sort of bloke he was and that’s why I always wanted him on my team,” former Australia Test captain Ricky Ponting said.
“An extraordinary player and even better human being. Can’t believe he’s gone. Thoughts are with his family at this time.”
Former Australian captain Allan Border paid tribute to Symonds, who played 26 Tests for Australia and was a crowd favourite in the short format game as a big-hitting allrounder.
“He hit the ball a long way and just wanted to entertain. He was, in a way, a little bit of an old-fashioned cricketer,” Border told the Nine Network.
Adam Gilchrist tweeted: “I miss him so much … already. Really hurting. Rest easy Royman.
“Think of your most loyal, fun, loving friend who would do anything for you. That’s Roy.”
Even Symonds’ former arch nemesis Harbhajan Singh paid tribute.
Symonds accused Harbhajan of calling him a monkey during a fiery Test at the SCG in 2008, but the pair later made peace.
“Shocked to hear about the sudden demise of Andrew Symonds. Gone too soon,” Harbhajan tweeted.
“Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends. Prayers for the departed soul.”
Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who was a teammate of Symonds at Mumbai Indians in 2011, was struggling to process his death.
“Today I have lost my closest man,” he tweeted.
“You were just not a colleague. My family, my man, My Symonds uncle. I will miss you terribly.”
Indian great Sachin Tendulkar tweeted: “Andrew Symonds’ demise is shocking news for all of us to absorb.
“Not only was he a brilliant all-rounder, but also a live-wire on the field.
“I have fond memories of the time we spent together in Mumbai Indians. May his soul rest in peace, condolences to his family & friends.”
Symonds’ death comes soon after that of two other Australian cricket legends, Shane Warne and Rod Marsh.
His family has asked for privacy. Wife Laura said she and children Chloe and Billy were in shock.
“He was such a big person and there is just so much of him in his kids,” she told News Corp.
“He was the most laid-back person. Nothing stressed him out. He was an extremely chilled operator. So practical.”
In recent years Symonds had worked as a TV commentator for Fox Sports and was a regular on the microphone for Big Bash League broadcasts.
“He was an adventurer. Loved his fishing, he loved hiking, camping,” Border said.
Symonds, nicknamed “Roy”, was charismatic on the field, often wearing zinc cream and at times sporting dreadlocks.
“People liked his very laid-back style,” Border said.
“He lived in Townsville. When I spoke to him, I think he still had a hundred head of cattle he used to muster.
“Symo away from the cameras and away from the spotlight, loved, I think, a bit of solitude and that is why he loved his fishing. Loved his own time.”
Symonds’ death follows the shock demise of cricketing peer Shane Warne, who died in March in Thailand. Sunday’s news prompted a wave of tributes.
Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist tweeted “This really hurts. #roy #rip”.
Another former cricketer Greg Matthews offered: “such a pure man, so genuine, so earthy … so humble! G, another brother leaves us #rip”.
Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan wrote: “Simmo .. This doesn’t feel real .. #RIP”.
Crash investigators will prepare a report for the coroner into Symonds’ crash.
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