Former New Zealand captain Crowe dies aged 53

Former New Zealand cricket captain Martin Crowe has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 53.

“Yes it is unfortunately true, he has died,” a New Zealand Cricket spokesman said on Thursday, confirming an earlier statement from Crowe’s family.

In this Feb. 28, 2015 photo, former New Zealand cricket captain Martin Crowe is pictured after he was inducted into the International Cricket Council's Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Cricket World Cup match between Australia and New Zealand in Auckland, New Zealand. Martin Crowe, a cricketer of prodigious talent who made batting appear effortless while secretly struggling with the burden of being a world-class player in otherwise modest New Zealand teams, died of cancer Thursday, March 3, 2016. He was 53. (AP Photo/Ross Setford)

Widely regarded as New Zealand’s finest batsman, Crowe played 77 tests from 1982-1995 and scored 5,444 runs at an average of 45.36.

The elegant right-hander also scored 4,704 runs at an average of 38.55 in one-day internationals.

Crowe was initially diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in 2012 but the disease went into remission.

In September 2014, Crowe said a new, more aggressive form of the disease, double-hit lymphoma, had developed and he had been told only five percent survive more than 12 months.

His death was keenly felt in cricketing circles with an outpouring of tributes flowing on social media.

“Very sad to hear of the passing of Martin Crowe this morning. An inspiration to me and so many others. One of our true greats,” former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming wrote on Twitter.

Cricket Wellington, one of the three first class teams Crowe played for in New Zealand, described him as “a genius, true legend of the game”, while former Indian legspinner Anil Kumble called him a cricketing icon.

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