Canoeing legend Pope-Ellis dies in tractor accident

Veteran canoeist Graeme Pope-Ellis, a 15-time winner of the Dusi Canoe Marathon, died in an accident on his farm in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday, the Dusi organising committee said on Friday.

Pope-Ellis (62) was driving his tractor, doing some ploughing, when the tractor rolled over him, according to a statement.

“We are absolutely devastated at the news. Graeme was a South African sporting icon, having won the Dusi 15 times and paddled it 45 consecutive times,” said Dusi spokesperson Ray de Vries.

“I was with him just last week when he rode the Unlimited Dusi Mfula mountainbike event along the route of the Dusi, and he was telling me how much he was enjoying the ride.”

Pope-Ellis is survived by his wife, Wendy, and son, Lee. — Sapa

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