http://www.msn.com/en-au/news/austr...football-in-australia-dies-aged-71/ar-AAp8nqV Australian football icon and SBS commentator Les Murray has died aged 71. Murray was a trailblazer for the game in Australia, and his voice became synonymous with the round-ball game for Australian fans. He began work for SBS in 1980 as a Hungarian subtitle writer, before moving into coverage of football. By the 1986 World Cup, he was the host of the network's football coverage. He would stay and thrive in this position for decades, covering World Cups and Australian qualifiers until 2014. His long-time partner on air, former Socceroo Craig Foster, described Murray as "a football colossus", saying he left a lasting legacy. In a statement, SBS said Murray was a much-loved colleague who "left a unique legacy". "SBS is sad to advise that earlier today Les Murray passed away after a long period of illness. "Les will be remembered not just for his 35-year contribution to football in Australia, but for being a much-loved colleague, mentor and friend who has left a unique legacy. "To say he will be sorely missed is an understatement. "Many Australians know Les as Mr Football, who began working with SBS when it launched as a television broadcaster in 1980. His role went far beyond being a football commentator. "The growth, popularity and success of football in Australia today is absolutely a reflection of his passion and advocacy for the game that he loved. "We pass on our deepest sympathies to his family, including his partner Maria and his daughters Tania and Natalie. "They ask that their privacy is respected during this difficult time." SBS managing director Michael Ebeid said Murray was an inspiration to many. "No one better embodied what SBS represents than Les Murray. From humble refugee origins, he became one of Australia’s most recognised and loved sporting identities," Mr Ebeid said in a statement. "Not just a football icon, but a great Australian story and an inspiration to many, to say that his contribution to SBS and to football was enormous, doesn't do it justice. "This is a devastating loss for all of us at SBS. "Our thoughts are with his family and all who loved him."