Welsh rugby icon Eddie Butler dies aged 65 in his sleep in Peru

Welsh rugby icon Eddie Butler dies peacefully in his sleep in Peru at the age of 65 as he took on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to fundraise for charity, as tributes pour in for the popular commentator and former international

  • Former Wales rugby star Eddie Butler has died fundraising in Peru aged 65 
  • Butler, who has 16 caps for Wales, was taking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 
  • The popular commentator died peacefully in his sleep at a base camp on the trail

Former Wales rugby captain Eddie Butler has died at the age of 65. 

Butler, who went on to become a well-known commentator, was part of a group of fundraisers in Peru, raising money for the charity Prostate Cymru.

On Thursday September 15, Butler, who leaves behind his wife Susan and six children, died peacefully in his sleep at the Ecoinka base camp in the Peruvian Andes. 

In a statement posted on social media by Prostate Cymru, they were left cherishing the memories of the 16-cap Wales international.

‘The Prostate Cymru charity is devastated by the passing of its much loved ambassador Eddie Butler,’ the statement read.

‘Ed was the voice of Wales and we were honoured to have him as part of our charity. We will cherish the many memories we have of him.

BBC rugby commentator Eddie Butler has died in his sleep aged 65 while fundraising in Peru

Butler (centre) won 16 caps for Wales in his career and captained his country on six occasions

‘Over the last week, Ed once again showed his generosity and steadfast commitment to good causes by joining 25 Prostate Cymru fundraisers, including his daughter Nell, on the Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu.

‘In the early hours of Thursday 15 September, Ed passed away peacefully in his sleep at Ecoinka base camp in the Peruvian Andes. 

‘He leaves behind his wife Susan and six children who are very much in our thoughts.

‘The charity will not be making any immediate further comment. We also ask that the family’s privacy is respected during this difficult time.’

Tributes quickly flooded in for Butler, with BBC presenter Gabby Logan and former Wales flanker Sam Warburton leading them.

‘Stunned at the news and passing of Eddie Butler,’ Warburton tweeted. 

‘Thoughts with his family. What an amazing contribution to rugby and broadcasting. A privilege to have played and co-commentated with his voice. RIP Eddie’

‘Utterly devastated to hear this news,’ added Logan. 

‘Eddie was a wonderful broadcaster, the kindest man and such great company. On top of that a Welsh rugby great, a British & Irish Lion. 

‘Many of us who worked with him are heartbroken. Kenny and I send all our love to Sue and the family.’ 

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: ‘Eddie Butler was a true commentary great – the recognisable voice of the sport to millions & unrivalled in his storytelling behind the mic. 

‘Captain of Wales and a superb player, he was also a true gentleman. I am deeply shocked. My thoughts are with his family and BBC colleagues.’ 

Former England rugby hooker Brian Moore was left ‘devastated’ at the news of Butler’s death.

‘I am devastated by this news. Ed, I’m sorry I never told you how much I admired you as a broadcaster and as a man,’ Moore wrote in tribute. 

‘Well, it wasn’t like that between us, was it. Condolences to Sue and your family. Sport has lost an iconic voice, I have lost a very dear friend. Goodbye Edward.’ 

Butler enjoyed a prosperous career as a player and then became the voice of rugby for the BBC

Butler has become the voice of Welsh rugby for a generation but before that he was a prominent player in the 1980s. 

He played 16 times for Wales between 1980 and 1984 and went on to captain the side six times. 

Butler first rose to prominence with Pontypool, a side that at that time was turning plenty of heads in Welsh rugby.

Winding down his playing career, Butler retired from in 1985 and his next move was to become a teacher. 

From there he launched a career in journalism and took his knowledge and insight to the commentary booth, eventually becoming the BBC’s lead commentator.

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