LAHORE, Pakistan — Abdul Qadir, the former Pakistan cricketer who was widely regarded as one of the greatest legspinners in history, died of a cardiac arrest on Friday. He was 63.
Qadir's son, Salman Qadir, told reporters in Lahore his father was rushed to hospital but did not survive.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said on its official Twitter account it was "shocked" and "devastated" by the death of the "maestro."
Qadir played 67 tests from 1977-90, taking 236 wickets including 9-56 against England at Lahore in 1987.
He made his one-day international debut in the 1983 World Cup, and took 132 wickets in 104 games before quitting in 1993.
Qadir served Pakistan cricket in various roles, including chief selector in 2008. He quit the following year when he claimed the PCB didn't give him independence to make decisions. He also ran a private cricket academy just outside PCB headquarters at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
"The PCB, like every Pakistani, is proud of his services to cricket and Pakistan," chairman Ehsan Mani said in a statement. "His contributions and achievements were not only limited to on-field, but he ensured he transferred the art of leg-spin to the up-and-coming cricketers.
"Apart from being a maestro with the ball, Abdul Qadir was a larger-than-life figure who was adored, loved and respected across the globe due to his excellent understanding and knowledge of the game, and strong cricket ethics and discipline.
"He played hard cricket within the spirit of cricket and, in doing so, not only earned respect from his opponents but turned his foes into friends."
Chief executive Wasim Khan added, "Pakistan cricket has lost one of its most beloved and admired sons.
"Abdul Qadir may have passed, but his contribution to global cricket — by giving popularity and impetus to the art of wrist spin bowling that inspired hundreds of youngsters across the planet — will live forever."
Former teammate Wasim Akram paid tribute on Twitter: "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."
Sikander Bakht, a fast bowler, said it was an honour to play alongside Qadir.
"Shocked speechless greatest RLS bowler produce by Pakistan, have the honour of playing with & against him," Bakht tweeted. "May Allah rest ur soul in peace my friend we will miss you. Sad day for me really sad."
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The Associated Press