Golf superstar Seve Ballesteros loses battle with cancer, aged 54
Golf legend Seve Ballesteros has died from cancer at the age of 54, his family have confirmed via his official website.
The Spaniard, who won five majors and was instrumental in growing golf's popularity, passed away at 0110 BST this morning due to respiratory failure.
Ballesteros had fought a long battle with a neurological condition since being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008.
The family's statement at www.seveballesteros.com read: “At 02:10 hours [Spanish time], Seve Ballesteros – accompanied by his family at his home in Pedrena – died due to respiratory failure.
“The family appreciates all the expressions of support and affection they have received since Seve was admitted on October 5, 2008 at the Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid.”
Ballesteros, who retired in 2007, collapsed in October 2008 and two days later came confirmation that he had a brain tumour.
He underwent an initial 12-hour operation, but needed further surgery before returning home to begin chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.
After a second course of chemotherapy in 2009 he said on his website: “The results of the check-up were really positive, better even than the first ones.”
Two more courses followed and four months later he made his first public appearance, saying it was “a miracle” to be alive.
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Ballesteros, who joined the professional ranks at the tender age of 16 in 1974, won the Open three times, the Masters twice and played an inspirational role in the Ryder Cup, helping Europe to lift the trophy four times before captaining them to another victory at Valderrama in 1997.
European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said: “This is such a very sad day for all who love golf.
“Seve's unique legacy must be the inspiration he has given to so many to watch, support, and play golf, and finally to fight a cruel illness with equal flair, passion, and fierce determination.
“We have all been so blessed to live in his era. He was the inspiration behind The European Tour.”