British and Irish Lions
September 15, 2022 5:00 p.m.
Reading time: 2 minutes
Tributes were paid to British & Irish Lion #601 and iconic broadcaster Eddie Butler, who died aged 65.
Butler was called up to the British and Irish Lions squad which toured New Zealand in 1983, replacing Jeff Squire, and made one appearance.
The No.8 played 16 times for Wales and captained them on six occasions, scoring two tries.
He was a legend at his club Pontypool, captaining the team between 1982 and 1985, and after retiring from rugby he carved out a remarkable career in journalism, broadcasting and commentary.
Tributes have already started pouring in to honor a great of the game, with World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont calling Butler one of the finest commentators of his time.
Eddie Butler was a truly great commentator – the recognizable voice of sport for millions and unrivaled in his storytelling from behind the microphone. Captain of Wales and a superb player, he was also a true gentleman. I am deeply shocked. My thoughts are with his family and his colleagues at the BBC.
– Mr. Bill Beaumont (@BillBeaumont) September 15, 2022
After beginning his journalism career with the Sunday Correspondent in 1988, Butler began writing for The Observer in 1991.
He joined BBC Wales in 1990, beginning his commentating career alongside Bill McLaren before becoming the BBC’s principal rugby commentator.
His partnership with former Lions and England hooker Brian Moore has been widely praised and his commentator partner tweeted that he admires Butler as a broadcaster and as a man.
I am devastated by this news.
Ed, I’m sorry I never told you how much I admire you as an animator and as a man. 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. https://t.co/wtbEmQJhCm
—Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) September 15, 2022
The prose accompanying Butler’s montage has been the backdrop not only to sporting events, but also to some of the biggest news stories of the past two decades.
The last he did marked the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
He has commentated on Olympic sports, as well as the Invictus Games, and has also put his voice on edits for the BBC’s flagship NFL programmes. He has also published three novels and two non-fiction books.
Two-time Tour captain and fellow broadcaster Sam Warburton said: “Stunned by the news and the passing of Eddie Butler. Thoughts with his family.
“What an incredible contribution to rugby and broadcasting. A privilege to have played and co-commentated with his voice.
Scott Quinnell, who toured with the Lions in 1997 and 2001, said: “Absolutely devastated to hear the news. Eddie was such a wonderful man. I have always enjoyed our discussions, especially over a pint. Love and thoughts to Sue and family.