'Tireless efforts': Jones family thanks Brett Lee
Dean Jones' wife and daughters pay emotional tributes amid outpouring of goodwill from around the world
26 September 2020, 05:37 PM AEST
The family of Dean Jones has thanked Brett Lee for his "tireless efforts" to save his life as Jane Jones penned touching tribute to her late husband following his death in India this week.
Lee performed CPR on Jones after the 59-year-old suffered a heart attack in Mumbai where they were working for broadcaster Star Sports during the ongoing Indian Premier League.
A minute's silence to remember a great of the game ♥#AUSvNZ pic.twitter.com/QjPvA8MBKo— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) September 26, 2020
Jones is survived by his daughters Phoebe and Isabella as well as his wife Jane, who said the family had been moved by the outpouring of goodwill from around the world.
"My girls and I are devastated and saddened beyond belief to hear of Dean's death in India," Jane said in a statement.
"My beautiful husband, the love of my life has lived his life with every bit of energy at his disposal, and he leaves an enormous gap in our lives which can never be filled.
"He leaves us with so many wonderful memories that will last forever. At this challenging time, when our grief is so raw, we have drawn much consolation from the many messages of goodwill and support from so many people around the world.
"We want to especially thank and acknowledge Brett Lee's tireless efforts to keep Dean alive."
In an emotional Instagram post, Phoebe Jones added that their family "is eternally grateful to Brett Lee for doing everything he could.
"We are overwhelmed with your outpouring of kind words, support and tributes. His legacy will live on in every life he touched.
"I just keep staring at my phone waiting for him to call and tell me this is just a bad dream."
The late Jones' playful sense of humour was on display in a video shared by Lee on Instagram on Friday that had been filmed in the preceding days. Jones, a talented golfer, poked fun at fellow Star commentator Scott Styris (the former New Zealand allrounder) as Jones and Lee chipped golf balls down the hallway of their hotel.
Lee showed the camera one of Jones' golf balls that read 'Dean Jones – 324'.
"His Test number," Lee noted, before Jones wryly added, "It's my highest score too" in reference to his 324 not out for Victoria against South Australia in 1995.
Lee and Styris went to air for Star only hours after Jones' death, with Styris holding back tears.
"What 'Deano' would've wanted is for us to come out here in the dugout, get it done, have some fun for the game we all love," Lee said.
Speaking to News Corp, the former fast bowler added: “It’s hard to put into words the sense of loss I’m feeling right now. Deano was a great mate and champion bloke who we already miss dearly.
“Even though I gave my everything in trying to resuscitate Dean with the use of CPR and a defibrillator, I wish there was somehow or someway to bring him back.”
The legendary batsman was much loved around Australia, and had been a cult hero in his home state of Victoria, while he became a popular figure on the subcontinent through his work as a coach and media pundit.
He was revered in Pakistan in particular having coached Islamabad United to two Pakistan Super League titles.
Islamabad’s general manager Rehan Ulhaq this week shared a screenshot of a message sent by Jones last year in which the Australian sought to raise money for Asif Ali while his daughter battled terminal cancer.
I normally wouldn’t share screenshots of any convos but I think ppl should know the kind of man #DeanJones was off the field. One of the most compassionate ppl. This he sent to me when Asif was going through a tough time, he believed in Asif & Asif delivered that season. pic.twitter.com/xbhjsNVosc— Rehan Ulhaq (@Rehan_ulhaq) September 24, 2020
Jones had broken down in tears at a press conference when talking about Ali and his daughter.
"Given Dean's special love for the subcontinent, it was especially touching to hear so broadly from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan," Jane Jones said.
"We are overwhelmed by the scale of the response to the news of his death and we will forever be grateful for that."
Some have suggested the MCG could erect a statue in Jones' honour; the Victorian was icon of one-day cricket through the 1990s, while his double century in the Tied Test in 1986 is remembered as one of the gutsiest innings by an Australian.
"Hopefully we can do something with the Boxing Day Test," Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings said. "He owned the ground. It was his stadium when he walked out to bat on Boxing Day."