Ruth Strauss, the actress and wife of the former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss, died in Australia on Saturday after a battle with lung cancer. She was 46, and leaves behind two young children.
In a statement issued by the England and Wales Cricket Board, Andrew announced: “It is with great sadness and immense grief that we have to announce that Ruth passed away today as a result of her rare lung cancer. Sam, Luca and I will miss her terribly.
“Anyone who has met Ruth will know how loving, caring and passionately protective she was of her family and it gives us huge comfort that she was in Australia, the land of her birth, surrounded by those who love her, in her final moments.
“We would like to send our heartfelt thanks to those that have helped with her treatment over the last 12 months, in particular the wonderful team at University College Hospital in London.”
It is almost exactly 20 years since Ruth McDonald met Andrew Strauss in a bar in Sydney. She was a professional theatre actress; he was a young English cricketer spending the winter in Australia playing club cricket. “She was a little older than me, much more worldly and most of all great company,” Strauss would later remember in his autobiography Driving Ambition.
“Being an actress, she had plenty of days when she wasn’t doing much. We explored Sydney, sunbathed constantly on beaches up and down the eastern suburbs, ate loads of ice cream and watched movies and talked in the evenings.”
The pair married in 2003 and settled in England, where Ruth continued to perform on the London theatre circuit for a while under her maiden name. But as their family grew with the arrivals of Sam and Luca, and as Andrew’s cricketing career began to take off, she began to play an increasingly important role in her husband’s support network.
Ruth first fell ill in December last year, while Andrew - then director of England cricket - was in Australia for the men’s Ashes tour. Andrew returned home in the middle of the series, and stepped down from his position in May ahead of a new and more challenging course of treatment in the summer, giving up his career for his partner, just as Ruth had done all those years ago.
“She has brought up my two boys mainly single-handedly, and has always been there to support me,” Andrew wrote of Ruth in his autobiography. “She is truly a remarkable woman."