June 20, 2013
Golf legend Severiano Ballesteros dies, aged 54
Seve Ballesteros, one of golf's greatest and most charismatic players, died today at the age of 54 following a long battle with cancer, his family said.
The Spaniard, a five-time major winner, had been recuperating at his home in northern Spain after having four operations on a brain tumour diagnosed in late 2008, followed by a course of chemotherapy.
"Today, at 2.10 a.m. Spanish time, Seve Ballesteros passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at his home in Pedrena," the family said in a statement on the player's personal website (www.seveballesteros.com).
Regarded by many as golf's greatest shot-maker, Ballesteros won 87 titles worldwide, 50 of them on the European Tour.
World number one Lee Westwood described Ballesteros as an "inspiration, genius, role model, hero and friend," in a poignant message on his Twitter feed.
"Seve made European golf what it is today," Westwood added. "RIP Seve."
A winner of three British Opens and two Masters titles, Ballesteros also helped revive Europe's fortunes in the Ryder Cup, breathing new life into the team competition against the United States.
"He was a game-changer," fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia said. "To come from where he did and do what he did was amazing."
European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said the inspirational Ballesteros would leave a powerful legacy.
"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," O'Grady said in a statement.
"We have all been so blessed to live in his era. He was the inspiration behind the European Tour."
The tumour, the size of two golf balls, was discovered after Ballesteros collapsed at Madrid airport and was rushed to a nearby hospital.
The final cause of death was respiratory problems, the statement added.