The former British number one tennis player Elena Baltacha has died aged just 30 years old, after suffering from liver cancer.
Baltacha was diagnosed with the liver condition primary sclerosing cholangitis at age 19, but continued to keep herself in peak physical condition and spent several years as Britain’s number one female tennis player, before retiring in November 2013.
In March 2014 Elena revealed that she had been diagnosed with liver cancer, and today it was announced that she has tragically passed away.
Baltacha’s husband of six months and former coach Nino Severino said: “We are heartbroken beyond words at the loss of our beautiful, talented and determined Bally. She was an amazing person and she touched so many people with her inspirational spirit, her warmth and her kindness.”
A statement released by her family reads: “It is with deepest sadness that we bring you the following news – Elena Baltacha died in the early hours of Sunday 4 May of liver cancer. She was 30 years old.
“Elena, who always went by her nickname Bally, was diagnosed with liver cancer in mid-January 2014, two months after retiring from professional tennis and just a few weeks after marrying Nino Severino, her long-time coach and partner.
“Despite a determined battle against the disease, she passed away peacefully at home with her husband Nino by her side and surrounded by friends and family.”
The Lawn Tennis Association announced last month that they would stage a fundraising ‘Rally For Bally’ competition in three different regions, with three mixed-doubles matches taking place on Sunday, June 15th. Greg Rusedski, Tim Henman and Martina Navratilova are all set to compete in the events, which will take place in Birmingham, Eastbourne and Queen’s.
Photo: Getty Images