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Percy Sonn, 57; broke up racial divisions in cricket

CAPE TOWN -- Percy Sonn, the president of the International Cricket Council who was instrumental in fighting racial segregation in the sport, died yesterday of complications after colon surgery. He was 57.

Mr. Sonn became president of world cricket's governing body in 2006 and had been in critical condition in a Cape Town hospital since May 21.

A lawyer, Mr. Sonn helped guide South Africa back into the international fold after years of isolation because of apartheid.

"Percy was utterly committed to the game at all levels and his mantras were that the game had to be inclusive rather than exclusive, and that it had to be played the right way, to be true to the spirit of cricket," ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said.

The ICC said it will appoint an interim acting president before holding an election for a successor.

"As a cricket administrator and a man, Percy Sonn was a giant," former ICC president Ehsan Mani said. "Cricket will be much the poorer for his passing."

Mr. Sonn became vice president of the ICC in 2004 and president two years later. In March, he was allowed to extend the standard two-year term by a year after a deadlock at a board meeting over two potential successors, England's David Morgan and India's Sharad Pawar.