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Veteran broadcaster Les Murray dies

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Les Murray, Australian soccer’s great advocate and broadcasting voice of a generation, died on Monday aged 71 after a long battle with illness.

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Murray was born in Hungary in 1945, arriving in Australia as a refugee as a child.

A 35-year career bringing the world game into Australian homes followed.

Murray – known as Mr Football for his advocacy of the sport – became the face of soccer coverage at SBS.

He was present at the outset of the National Soccer League and presented several World Cups as the sport transitioned into the A-League era.

He was inducted into the Football Federation Australia Hall of Fame in 2003, before retiring in 2014.

SBS managing director Michael Ebeid paid tribute on Monday, saying “no one better embodied what SBS represents than Les Murray”.

“From humble refugee origins, he became one Australia’s most recognised and loved sporting identities,” Ebeid said.

Others were quick to follow in paying tribute.

“The world lost a football colossus this morning, Les Murray AM. He fought well into extra time but whistle has blown. His legacy is lasting,” former Socceroo and SBS broadcaster Craig Foster wrote.

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said, “Les Murray brought the world game to Australian homes. He was the voice of famous victory and heartbreaking defeat, of joy and despair. Vale.”

His long-term broadcasting partner, former Socceroos captain Johnny Warren, died of cancer in 2004.

Murray is survived by partner Maria and daughters Tania and Natalie.

– AAP

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