New Zealand cricket legend Martin Crowe has passed away after a battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
The former Black Caps captain, who was aged 53, was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in October 2012 and underwent treatment for the cancer but it returned in September 2014.
"It is with heavy hearts that the family of Martin Crowe, MBE advise his death," his family said in a statement.
"Diagnosed in September 2014 with terminal double hit lymphoma he passed away peacefully today, Thursday 3rd March in Auckland surrounded by family.
"The family request privacy at this time."
Crowe, one of the finest batsmen of his generation, played 77 Tests and 143 one-day internationals for New Zealand, scoring 5,444 Test runs including 17 centuries.
Last year he became the 79th inductee into the International Cricket Council Hall of Fame, the third Kiwi to receive the honour after Sir Richard Hadlee and Debbie Hockley, receiving the honour at the Cricket World Cup pool match between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park.
Crowe is survived by wife Lorraine Downes, daughter Emma and step-children Hilton and Jasmine.
Born in Henderson, New Zealand, Crowe made his debut for New Zealand in 1982 aged 19 and went on to make a considerable mark both on and off the pitch as a cricketer, commentator and author.
His 14-year international career included a vast array of highlights, both as a stylish batsman and during his four-year stint as national captain from 1990-1993, where he built a reputation as an innovative and daring leader.
Crowe was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1985 and New Zealand sportsman of the year in 1991.
He held the record for highest Test score by a New Zealander until February 2014, his 299 against Sri Lanka at the Basin Reserve in 1991 only trumped by recently retired captain Brendon McCullum's 302 at the same venue.
Crowe captained New Zealand to a World Cup semi-final in 1992 and was named the best player of the tournament for his century and four fifties.
When he retired aged 33, Crowe was the Black Caps' most prolific run-scorer, with an average of 45.36 – a mark only bettered by Kane Williamson (currently 49.23), John Reid (26.28) and Ross Taylor (currently 45.49).
His 17 Test tons remain the most by a New Zealand player.
After his retirement, Crowe remained involved with the game as a commentator, mentor and batting coach, in recent years working with current Black Caps Taylor and Martin Guptill.
Crowe had been diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in October 2012 and underwent treatment for the cancer but it returned in September 2014.
Doctors identified his condition as double-hit lymphoma, a rare and aggressive blood disease. He chose not to continue with chemotherapy, opting instead to "chill out at home" as he managed his illness with natural remedies.
Crowe said his diagnosis had helped him realise what was important in life.
"The main thing is the love I have for the people around me, and I only really focus on compassion and forgiveness because that's the only way and I didn't used to do that at all.
"I took too long to grow up, and now I've got that perspective on what my life should be about I've probably never been happier."
New Zealand's run to the World Cup cricket final last March featured prominently in Crowe's last months.
After his induction into the ICC Hall of Fame at Eden Park, he travelled to Melbourne to watch the Black Caps meet Australia in the final, describing the match as without question the personal cricketing highlight of his life.
"My precarious life ahead may not afford me the luxury of many more games to watch and enjoy," Crowe wrote on the ESPNcricinfo website.
"So this is likely to be it. The last, maybe, and I can happily live with that."
Tributes to Crowe
Some classic stroke-play from a true legend. Rest in peace, Martin Crowe.https://t.co/Ld7CBTTp3L— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) March 3, 2016
New Zealand Cricket is deeply saddened at the passing of our country’s greatest batsman, Martin David Crowe, aged 53 pic.twitter.com/UGk75OFMW5— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) March 3, 2016
Vale Martin Crowe. A magnificent cricketer and wonderful man who will be sadly missed. Our thoughts are with our NZ friends at this sad time— Cricket Australia (@CAComms) March 3, 2016
RIP Martin Crowe. A very sad day. Thoughts are with friends and family. pic.twitter.com/cfbPHHmSl3— Grant Elliott (@grantelliottnz) March 3, 2016
Very sad to hear of the passing of martin crowe this morning. An inspiration to me and so many others. One of our true greats. RIP hogan— Stephen Fleming (@SPFleming7) March 3, 2016
A modern great & Ckt icon MCrowe is no more.Brilliant Ckt brain & a warm persona.Condolences 2 family, Jeff & @BLACKCAPS.Ckt will miss him.— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) March 3, 2016
So sad to hear news of Martin Crowe passing away. For those of us who grew up watching cricket in the 80s, we owe him immensely #RIPCROWE— Scott Styris (@scottbstyris) March 3, 2016
Deeply saddened to hear that Martin Crowe has passed away, master batsman & one of the great thinkers in our game. #RIPHogan— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) March 3, 2016
My champion, my hero, my friend. I will love you forever. RIP M.D.Crowe . pic.twitter.com/PHynH9RNQ7— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) March 3, 2016
Awwww...sigh! Just heard my ol' mate & skipper Marty Crowe passed!! 😢 Kia kaha to next of kin...was an honour to know Hogan xx— Danny Morrison (@SteelyDan66) March 3, 2016
Sad news hearing that Martin Crowe has passed away. RIP Hogan.— Jesse Ryder (@DijaRyder) March 3, 2016
So sad to hear the passing of Martin Crowe. One of the games greats on and off the field. My thoughts with family and friends. #martincrowe— Damien Martyn (@damienmartyn) March 3, 2016
Saddened to hear about the passing of Martin Crowe. One of my heroes growing up. Will always remember our round at Royal Auckland #legend— Greg Blewett (@blewy214) March 3, 2016
T20 has Martin Crowe to thank.#CricketMax— Iain O'Brien (@iainobrien) March 2, 2016
I'm very sad to hear that Martin Crowe has passed away. #great-man— Phillip Defreitas (@cricketdaffy) March 3, 2016
Blown away by the news of Martin Crowe. True Legend, RIP mate— Kyle Mills (@kylemills79) March 2, 2016
RIP, Martin Crowe. We only saw him at the 'G in one Test (1987) - but he showed his class with 82 and 79. A very sad day for cricket.— Melb Cricket Ground (@MCG) March 3, 2016
Very sad news learning New Zealand Cricketer and All Time Great Martin Crowe has died. Awesome batsman. RIPHogan #AllTimeGreat— Ronnie Irani (@RonnieIrani1) March 3, 2016
So sad to hear that Martin Crowe has passed away. He gave me my first TV job & I could not thank him enough. Team mate and friend. RIPHogan— Simon Doull (@Sdoull) March 3, 2016