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Hockey legend Leslie Claudius passes away

Posted on Dec 20, 09:45PM | IBNS

India's triple Olympic gold medalist and legendary hockey player Leslie Claudius passed away here on Thursday after a prolonged illness. He was 85 and survived by his wife and three sons.

Claudius was admitted in a city hospital undergoing treatment for cirrhosis of the liver. He has been in and out of the hospital in the past couple of years.

Born in Bilaspur, Claudius was conferred with the prestigious Padmashree Award back in 1971.

One of his sons Brandon was staying with him in Kolkata and the other two sons live in Australia. One of his son Robert, who played in the 1978 hockey World Cup in Mexico, had passed away the same years in a bike accident.

Claudius had a fairytale career and over a decade he won three Olympic gold medals - London 1948, Helsinki 1952 and Melbourne 1956. At Rome in 1960, he led India to a silver-medal finish.

His son Brandon said that Claudius was undergoing treatment at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a local hospital for abnormal fluid retention.

"His condition had improved Wednesday and the doctors were hopeful of discharging him. But Thursday it deteriorated," Brandon said.

Claudius was one of the five surviving members (Keshav Dutt, Grahanandan Singh, Jaswant Singh Rajput, and Balbir Singh Senior) of the 1948 London Games gold winning squad.

Along with Dhyan Chand and Ashok Kumar, Leslie and Robert Caludius were one of the famous father-son, who enthralled Indian hockey fans.

This year as a mark of respect the London Transport brought out a special Olympic Legends Map detailing all the tube stations. The games organizers had renamed Bushey railway station as Leslie Claudius.