Cape Town: Former international cricket umpire Rudi Koertzen died today in a car accident in South Africa, his family said.

Koertzen, 73, was on the International Cricket Councils elite panel of umpires for eight years and officiated in 331 matches, a record at the time of his retirement in 2010 that has since been surpassed by Pakistans Aleem Dar.

β€œIt is a very big loss, foremost for his family and then for South Africa and cricket,” Dar was quoted as saying by ESPNcricInfo.

Well-respected by players

β€œI stood in so many games with him. He was not only very good as an umpire but also an excellent colleague, always very cooperative on field and also always willing to help off the field. Because of the way he was, he was also well-respected by players.”

Koertzen died while driving from Cape Town to Despatch in Eastern Cape, where he lived with his family, ESPNcricInfo said.

Koertzen still umpired occasionally in amateur cricket in his hometown of Despatch in South Africas Eastern Cape.