Hundreds of well-wishing messages have flooded in for New Zealand cricket great Martin Crowe following news he has cancer.
The former New Zealand captain, who turned 50 last month, was diagnosed with lymphoma this week.
Guardian UK sports writer Andy Wilson said in his sports blog that "New Zealand must be in a state of shock", and it wasn't "only that he was one of the country's finest batsmen".
A statement issued by Crowe's manager Louise Henderson said: "Understandably the family have a number of issues to confront over the next couple of weeks, the diagnosis is very new, the family is still in shock and obviously dealing with the understanding that life as they know it for the unforeseeable future is different''.
Henderson is also manager to Crowe's wife, former Miss Universe Lorraine Downes.
The family requested privacy as they came to terms with the situation, Henderson said.
Former New Zealand model and NZ's Got Talent judge Rachel Hunter this morning tweeted her support. "Thoughts and prayers to Martin Crowe and his Family!" she said.
Twitter has ignited with messages from a number of cricketing nations including New Zealand. James Kupa said: "One of our great cricketers Martin Crowe has Lymphoma Cancer, all kiwis thoughts are behind and with you -JKG".
"Martin Crowe all the very best in your biggest challenge. You were the most elegant batsman I every watched live," tweeted Michael Emmerson.
Crowe's test career spanned from 1982 to 1995 in which he averaged 45.36 and established himself as one of the country’s best batsmen.
Crowe made his test debut aged just 19 and went on to appear in 77 tests and 143 one day internationals.
He was also the inspirational leader behind New Zealand’s memorable run to the World Cup semifinals on home soil in 1992.
His 17 centuries are still the most by any New Zealander at test level.
He might well have scored more had it not been for a crippling knee injury that forced him to retire in 1996 at the age of just 33.
A successful career in commentary for Sky TV followed before he changed roles and took up a job with Sky's Rugby Channel.
He also came up with an abbreviated version of the game called Cricket Max which was played in New Zealand before Twenty20 cricket was invented.
Crowe attempted a comeback last year, but in his first premier match for Auckland club Cornwall was forced to retire hurt and conceded his body wasn’t up to the rigours of the sport.
WHAT IS LYMPHOMA?
The Lymphoma Network of New Zealand said lymphoma was a little known but prevalent cancer which was growing in incidence both globally and in New Zealand.
Lymphomas are cancers that affect the lymphatic system and arise when developing lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) undergo a malignant change and multiply in an uncontrolled way.
Lymphomas can develop at any age but the majority occur in people over the age of 50.
Some lymphomas grow slowly and cause few troubling symptoms, and may not need to be treated urgently. Others grow more quickly and need to be treated as soon as they are diagnosed. Treatment can involve chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Is cricket still NZ's top summer sport?Related story: Rain can't save Black Caps from big defeat