Family thinks stress was to blame

Bob Woolmer's death stuns cricket world

Cricinfo staff

March 18, 2007

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Bob Woolmer was found unconscious in his hotel room © Martin Williamson
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A pall of gloom fell over the World Cup following the death of Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, in hospital in Jamaica on Sunday, hours after he was found unconscious on the floor of his hotel room. He was 58.

Tributes poured in from across the cricketing world, where Woolmer was known as an innovative coach and a scholar of the game. The Pakistan team, already eliminated from the World Cup on Saturday, said it would play its final match, against Zimbabwe, on Wednesday as scheduled.

"We've been speaking to the doctors and they think it is either stress or a heart attack," Russell Woolmer, his son, told South African radio from Cape Town. "There was a lot of stress in his job and it may have been stress that caused it. We're all very shocked and we don't know what to do."

The news of Woolmer's death was announced by Pervez Mir, Pakistan's media manager, a couple of hours after it first became known that he had been taken ill. "Bob Woolmer has passed away. I am speaking from the hospital and all the team management is also at the hospital. Doctors have pronounced him dead. Bob has passed away and it is very shocking news to all of the team and the team management.

"Bob's family and wife were informed by the management about his condition when he was brought to hospital", Mir said, adding that Woolmer's wife was on her way from South Africa.

Mir's statement added that there would be a coroner's inquest and, in keeping with Jamaican law, an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Woolmer, a diabetic, was found unconscious on his hotel-room floor at around 10.45am after team officials grew concerned that they had not seen him since the previous evening. Mir said he had blood on him and there was vomit on the walls.

Karl Angell, director of communication for the Jamaica Constabulary Force, said Woolmer was pronounced dead by doctors at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, where he had been rushed to, at 12.14pm on Sunday.

Woolmer's death comes less than 24 hours after Pakistan were knocked out of the World Cup following their defeat by Ireland. After the match, Woolmer spoke of the pressures of coaching. "Doing it internationally, it takes a toll on you," he said. "The endless travelling and the non-stop living out of hotels.

"I am deeply hurt and cannot tell you how it is going to affect me," Woolmer told AFP late on Saturday after the Ireland defeat, saying he would answer more questions on email later in the week.

Mir said Pakistan would still play their final World Cup group match on Wednesday. "The Pakistan team will continue its participation in the tournament. We are due to play Zimbabwe and we will play that match," Mir told AFP by telephone from Jamaica. "Obviously the boys are extremely sad, they are very distrurbed, they are shocked, but the boys have to play the match and they will."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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