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Picture of the week: Tragic reminder of the delicacy of life

Flowers, cards, handwritten notes, items of clothing - emblems of sorrow and remembrance all intermingled outside the Adelaide Oval in Australia. It's the kind of quiet, dignified scene we have come to expect almost as a matter of course following any tragic incident.

When that tragedy involves the loss of a well-known figure, though, especially one in the prime of their life, the sorrow can almost be too much to bear.

The death of cricketer Phillip Hughes this week has cast a long, dark cloud over a country famed for its sunny optimism. That it involved that most genteel of sports, cricket - a pastime of near-religious standing in Australia - only adds to the bewilderment of many. Cricketers aren't rock climbers, or rally drivers, or motorcycle racers or any other of the myriad adrenaline-fuelled sporting professionals who face death almost routinely.

A simple bounce of a cricket ball, joined with an unfortunately-timed turn of the head were all it took for this most appalling of freak accidents to occur. The blow - the kind of strike likely to cause little more than a bruise elsewhere on the body - compressed an artery in the young man's neck, causing it to split and lead to a massive bleed into his brain. After two days in a coma, the 25-year-old passed away on Thursday.

The loss of Hughes - a talented and popular figure in the Australian cricket scene, with a bright future ahead of him - is a tragedy in its own right. But it's what his death really reveals to all of us that is the most unsettling thing of all. That however careful we may be in our daily lives, however much we try to protect ourselves from harm, in the end we all hang by just a thread.

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