Indonesian badminton great Nyoo Kiem Bie passed away late Monday at St. Vincentius RKZ Hospital in Surabaya at the age of 80.
An official with the East Java chapter of the Indonesia Badminton Association (PBSI), Ferry Stewart, said Bie died at 10:45 p.m. He had been in the hospital for several days receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness.
"He had been repeatedly treated in the hospital lately for an illness," Ferry said as quoted by Antara newswire.
Pairing with Tan King Gwan or Darmawan Saputra, the burly 180 centimeter tall Bie, also known by his Indonesian name Koesbianto, helped Indonesia win the Thomas Cup for the first time in 1958 in Singapore. The men's team championship to this day remains one of the most prestigious team events.
Bie and Gwan helped spoil the party for three-time Thomas Cup champion Malaya (now Malaysia), by beating the favored duo of Johny Heah and Lim Say Hup 7-15, 15-5, 18-15.
Bie's fellow shuttlers Ferry Sonneville, Tan Joe Hok and Eddy Jusuf were also in top form during the event. Ferry and Joe Hok contributed two points each by upsetting Malaya's aces Eddy Choong and Teh Kew San, while Eddy overcame Abdullah Piruz. Indonesia eventually triumphed 6-3 victory.
Despite his "giant build", Bie was known as a "friendly person and a bit sensitive", R.S. Rachmat, PBSI's former East Java chapter chairman, wrote in a book on Indonesian shuttlers published in 1994.
"Nyoo Kiem Bie always shed tears whenever he was upset or angry," he wrote.
Bie hung up his racket in 1965 and went on to coach several major badminton clubs, including Djarum and Surya Naga, as well as the national squad in 1969.
"His love of the sport stayed with him, and until quite recently he still used to attend all the badminton championships here in Surabaya," said PBSI East Java chapter chairman Yacob Rusdianto.