Former British number one tennis player Elena Baltacha has died of liver cancer, aged 30.
Last year, Baltacha revealed she was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a chronic liver condition which compromises the immune system, at the age of 19.
She retired from tennis in November 2013 and two months later was diagnosed of a liver cancer.
“We are heartbroken beyond words at the loss of our beautiful, talented and determined Bally,” said husband Nino Severino.
She was British number one for nearly three years and despite often times struggling with illness went on to reach a career-high ranking of 49 in 2010. She also reached the third round of the Australian Open in 2005 and 2010.
Impossibly sad. Forever a teammate. Sweet dreams Bally.
— Laura Robson (@laurarobson5) May 5, 2014
A Rally Against Cancer- Rally for Bally fundraising event has been arranged to take place in Baltacha’s memory on 15 June at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club, with a hosts of stars, including Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova, Greg Rudeski, Jamie Murray, Heather Watson and Tim Henman set to take part.
Rest in Peace, beautiful Elena Baltacha…No words…Thoughts and prayers…
— Chris Evert (@ChrissieEvert) May 5, 2014
Baltacha won 11 singles titles, made the third round of Wimbledon in 2002 and was part of Great Britain;s Fed Cup team for 11 years.