Colombo | Sri Lankan cricket superfan Percy Abeysekara, also known as Uncle Percy among the cricketing fraternity, has passed away at the age of 87.
He was a regular fixture at Sri Lanka's matches for over five decades. He gained global prominence during the 1996 World Cup when he was seen parading the national flag around the ground at Lahore following a win over Australia in the title clash, as per ESPNCricinfo.
Percy was famous for his rhyming English chants and interactions with cricketers, both Sri Lankans and foreigners. He was a regular fixture in the country's matches at home and overseas both. He was among the first generation of travelling superfans.
Percy was admired by many popular players. In the 1980s, New Zealand's Martin Crowe gave one of his 'Man of the Match' awards to him, for his passion towards sports. In the Asia Cup this year, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma paid a visit to Percy's residence while he was battling an illness.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) paid tribute to Percy. "In loving memory of legendary cheerleader, Percy Abeysekera (87). His passion and energy on the cricket field will be dearly missed. #RIPUnclePercy," tweeted SLC.
Often, Percy would jibe at players of his own team, especially while they made fielding errors near the boundary. This would often serve as an entertainment to the crowd. SLC made a substantial donation to Percy in recent months to help him with his treatment. He died after spending several days at hospital.