Former Pakistan spinner Abdul Qadir, credited for reviving the art of leg-spin bowling in 1970s and 80s, died of a heart attack in his hometown Lahore, his son confirmed on Friday.
"My father never had a heart problem so it was sudden and shocking that he suffered a severe attack and could not survive," Salman Qadir said.
Qadir, who would have turned 64 on September 15, was one of favourites of former captain Imran Khan -- now Pakistan's prime minister.
Qadir made his Test debut against England in 1977 and went on to play 67 Tests, taking 236 wickets with a best of 9-65 against England at the same venue in 1987.
Those figures are still the best by a Pakistan bowler in a Test innings.
He also took 132 wickets in 104 one-day internationals, with Imran using him as an attacking weapon in the 1983 World Cup held in England.
He played last of his international matches in 1993.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also expressed also sent messages of condolence to his family.
“We are devastated with the news of Abdul Qadir’s passing and on behalf of the PCB, I want to express my deepest condolences to his family and friends," PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said.
“The PCB, like every Pakistani, is proud of his services to cricket and Pakistan. His contributions and achievements were not only limited on-field, but he ensured he transferred the art of leg-spin to the up-and-coming cricketers," he added.
Former Pakistan captains Wasim Akram, Moin Khan, Rashid Latif and Waqar Younis led the condolence messages, saying Qadir's death was "a great loss of Pakistan cricket".
"We have lost a great man who was an institution in himself," said Wasim who played alongside Qadir in the 1980s.
They called him the magician for many reasons but when he looked me in the eyes & told me I was going to play for Pakistan for the next 20 years, I believed him.A Magician, absolutely. A leg spinner & a trailblazer of his time. You will be missed Abdul Qadir but never forgotten— Wasim Akram (@wasimakramlive) September 6, 2019
A host of other international cricketers paid tributes to the Pakistani legend.
Shocked to hear Abdul Qadir passed away.met him two years back he was full of energy as always..A champion bowler,Great human being,you will be missed forever..condolences to the family..🙏🙏 #RIPabdulqadir pic.twitter.com/HmKVoIwCBU— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) September 6, 2019
Just heard the sad news about Abdul Qadir passing away. May he rest in peace. For us leg-spinners he was an icon, all those variations & tricks. The original master of the googly. Thoughts & prayers with him & his family.— Shadab Khan (@76Shadabkhan) September 6, 2019
Legendary leg spinner Abdul Qadir sb passed away. Just got this sad news. The revival of leg spin in cricket is completely credited to him. He inspired a generation of bowlers to take up leg spin. Inna lillahi wa inna elaihi rajaoon.#AbdulQadir pic.twitter.com/mhBZy2yVk9— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) September 6, 2019
Qadir's unique dancing action was as attractive as it was destructive, spinning the ball prodigiously and had a lethal googly and a flipper.
Legendary Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne -- the second highest Test wicket taker with 708 (only behind Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan's 800) -- was also a big fan of Qadir.