How did Ross Gillespie die? NZ Hockey Gold medallist cause of death explained

Ross Gillespie
Ross Gillespie, New Zealand field hockey player and coach


The 1976 Montreal Olympic Games men’s gold medal hockey team is mourning the passing of inspirational coach Ross Gillespie. Let’s see, how did Ross Gillespie die in detail.

How did Ross Gillespie die?

Gillespie, who participated in the 1960 and 1964 Olympic hockey teams, passed away in Christchurch at the age of 87.

On Tuesday, Hockey New Zealand expressed its “grief” at learning of Ross Gillespie’s demise.

“Ross is a true NZ sporting icon—a double hockey Olympian and an Olympic Gold Medal-winning coach with our men’s hockey side at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

“He will forever be a part of our rich hockey history and will not be forgotten,’’ a Hockey NZ spokesperson said.

Ross Gillespie
New Zealand’s 1976 Olympic champion team with coach Ross Gillespie fourth from left in the back row


Who was Ross Gillespie?

John Ross Gillespie MBE was a New Zealand field hockey player and coach. Timaru was the birthplace of Gillespie.

Gillespie represented New Zealand in the Summer Olympics twice, in 1960 and 1964. At the 1972 Summer Olympics, he served as the head coach of the New Zealand field hockey team.

Four years later, in 1976, that team won the gold medal. In his teens, John Gillespie started coaching youth teams before becoming the senior coach at Woolston.

He had not, however, managed the Canterbury provincial team prior to being named co-coach of the New Zealand squad for a world six-a-side competition in Singapore in 1971.

New Zealand finished eighth at the 1972 Munich Olympics under the leadership of Gillespie.

Alan Patterson, his teammate in Tokyo, was one of his defendants. Gillespie, who was elected a life member of Hockey New Zealand in 1998, never lost his admiration for his 1976 side and believed they were innovative.

Ross Gillespie
Ross Gillespie (second, R), New Zealand’s 1976 Montreal Olympic Games gold medal winning hockey coaches with team members


Gillespie and his colleagues were told not to tackle until the Pakistanis crossed the 25-year mark during the 1956 match between New Zealand and Pakistan at Eden Park.

He was repeatedly urged to “tackle, No 6, tackle” by the 10,000-strong audience. Thus, Gillespie earned the nickname “Tack” among his hockey teammates.

Ross Gillespie cause of death:

Gillespie who played on Olympic hockey teams in 1960 and 1964 has died in Christchurch. He was 87. Ross Gillespie passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Funeral and memorial service will be announced by his family. Friends and family of Gillespie shared condolences to him.

For his contributions to hockey, Gillespie was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 1977 New Year’s Honors. Additionally, he ran a saw milling company.


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