Clive Rice has died at the age of 66.
He had been battling a brain tumour and passed away in a Cape Town hospital on Tuesday.
Rice was a hugely respected captain and player, notably for Nottinghamshire and Transvaal, but saw his full international ambitions thwarted for 20 years by South Africa's sporting exile during the apartheid era.
Eventually, at the age of 42, he captained his country in three one-day internationals against India after readmission - the so-called 'Friendship Tour' marking the start and the end of his South Africa career.
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He remains a revered figure at Trent Bridge, where he formed a famous partnership with Sir Richard Hadlee, and skippered the team to its first County Championship in 52 years in 1981 before adding a second title in 1987.
Rice, who ended his first-class career with Natal in 1994, returned to Nottinghamshire as cricket manager and encouraged a young Kevin Pietersen, who had grown frustrated at the South African quota system, to join Nottinghamshire - effectively paving the way for the player's storied England career.
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Pietersen was critical of many former colleagues in his autobiography but described Rice as "a great early influence on me".
South Africa will wear black armbands when they take on Bangladesh during Thursday's 2nd Test in Dhaka and Cricket South Africa flew its flag at half-mast in Johannesburg as a mark of respect.
CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: "Clive was our first captain and we knew him to be a great fighter all his life. Even during his last few years he put up a typically courageous and inspirational fight against the illness that had threatened him for a lengthy period of time.
"Clive will always be remembered for captaining the Proteas on our historic first tour to India in 1991 and, as one of the great all-rounders and captains of the game, it was fitting that he got the chance to play international cricket even though he was at an age when most players might have called time on their careers.
"On behalf of the CSA Family I extend our deepest condolences to his wife, his son and his daughter, all the rest of his family, his friends and his many cricketing colleagues around the world."
Nottinghamshire released their own statement, which read: "Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club is saddened to announce that former captain and cricket manager Clive Rice has passed away aged 66.
"The South African was one of the shining lights in Nottinghamshire's side in the late 1970s and 1980s, helping the county secure the County Championship title in both 1981 and 1987.
"Our thoughts are with his family and friends."
There were similar sentiments from the Gauteng Cricket Board, whose president Thabang Moroe said: "Clive's career came at a challenging time in our country's and the sport of cricket's history. One cannot help but tip your hat to some phenomenal performances. He represented our country and province well and above all else had a deep love for cricket."
Former South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs wrote on Twitter: "Sorry to hear about the passing of Clive Rice "ricey"..astute captain and a man that played the game hard!! Rip #CliveRice, with former England coach David Lloyd adding: "Sad to hear that Clive Rice has passed away ...terrific all rounder ...great competitor ...and a real good bloke."
The South African golfer Gary Player said: "My condolences to the family & friends of former SA cricket captain Clive Rice who passed away today. He was an inspiration to so many. RIP"