Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes died in hospital in Sydney on Thursday, two days after the international batsman was struck on the head by a ball during a domestic match.
Governing body Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed the 25-year-old had lost his fight for life, casting a pall over a cricket-mad nation which is co-hosting the World Cup early next year.
Indian A players celebrate the wicket of Australia A batsman Phillip Hughes during the first day of the three-day cricket match in Hyderabad on September 9, 2008. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf
"We are extremely sad to announce that Phillip Hughes has passed away at the age of 25," CA said on its Twitter feed.
"Our thoughts go out to Phillip's family, friends, and the entire cricket community on this incredibly sad day.
"He was not in pain before he passed and was surrounded by his family and close friends.
"As a cricket community, we mourn his loss and extend our deepest sympathies to Phillips family and friends at this incredibly sad time."
We are extremely sad to announce that Phillip Hughes has passed away at the age of 25 >pic.twitter.com/RjIWcqlT2v— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) >November 27, 2014
Cricket Australia was due to conduct a news conference at St Vincent's hospital in Sydney at 5 p.m. (0600 GMT).
The Australian flag was lowered to half-mast over the Sydney Cricket Ground where Hughes suffered the horrific injury on Tuesday when batting for state side South Australia.
Australia's Phillip Hughes plays a shot on Day 1 of the fourth cricket Test match between India and Australia at Ferozshah Kotla Ground in New Delhi on March 22, 2013. Photo: S.Subramanium
He was struck on the head by a short-pitched delivery from New South Wales paceman Sean Abbott, a devastating blow that experts compared to the trauma suffered by car crash victims.
After being treated at the stadium, Hughes, who played 26 tests and 25 one-day internationals, was rushed to hospital to have emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.
Australian fielder Phillip Hughes attempts a catch from Ishant Sharma during the third day of the fourth cricket Test match between India and Australia at Ferozeshah Kotla Ground in New Delhi on March 24, 2013. Photo: R.V.Moorthy
Tributes pour in social media
News of Hughes's death brought a fresh wave of tributes on social media, with past and present players conveying their shock and grief.
"No no no no no. RIP Phillip Hughes," former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist tweeted.
No no no no no. RIP Phillip Hughes— Adam Gilchrist (@gilly381) >November 27, 2014
Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott described Hughes as a "a young man living out his dreams".
"His death is a very sad day for cricket and a heartbreaking day for his family,' Abbott said in a statement.
"What happened has touched millions of Australians.
"For a young life to be cut short playing our national game seems a shocking aberration."
The tragic announcement followed calls by former players for the Australian team to abandon the first test of the four-match series against India next week.
Phillip Hughes gets beaten on a delivery off Ishant Sharma during the fourth Test at Ferozshah Kotla Ground in New Delhi on March 22, 2013. He was dismissed by Ishant Sharma in the same over. Photo: S. Subramanium
Arrival Date: 22/03/2013
Former test batsman Dean Jones told Melbourne radio station 3AW he thought the Dec. 4 match in Brisbane could not go ahead.
"I don't think any of the boys will want to play," he said.
Brett lee of NSW Blues celebrates on getting Aiden Blizzard LBW as Phillip Hughes (R) looks on during the Champions League T20 match at Ferozshah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi, on October 21, 2009. Photo: S. Subramanium
Pak-NZ Test cancelled
The news travelled quickly through the global cricket community, with the Pakistan test match against New Zealand suspended out of respect for the player.
Born in the small town of Macksville in New South Wales state, the pint-sized Hughes grew up on a banana plantation and made his first-class debut at 18.
He took the cricketing world by storm when he made his test debut in 2009, scoring a mountain of runs despite his unconventional technique.
Hughes would betray a vulnerability to short-pitched bowling and though he was in and out of the Australian team over the following years, he never complained publicly about his plight as a fringe player.
He had scored 63 runs before being struck on Tuesday, his last innings said to be an audition to replace injured Australia captain Michael Clarke for the first test.
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