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Saturday, 07 May 2011
Seve Ballesteros - three time Open Champion ()
Seve Ballesteros - three time Open Champion ()

Seve Ballesteros died at his home in Pedreña, northern Spain, in the early hours of Saturday morning when he finally lost his courageous battle at 2.10am.

George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, led the tributes.

He said: “This is such a very sad day for all who love golf. Seve’s unique legacy must be the inspiration he has given to so many to watch, support, and play golf, and finally to fight a cruel illness with equal flair, passion, and fierce determination. We have all been so  blessed to live in his era. He was the inspiration behind The European Tour.”

Seve's family confirmed the sad news in a statement at www.seveballesteros.com which read: "At 02:10 hours [Spanish time], Seve Ballesteros - accompanied by his family at his home in Pedrena - died due to respiratory failure.

"The family appreciates all the expressions of support and affection they have received since Seve was admitted on October 5, 2008 at the Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid.

"At the same time, please respect our privacy at such a painful time. Thank you very much."

All the players wore black ribbons during the third round of the Open de España at Real Club de Golf El Prat. There was a minute’s silence at 14.45 and the flags were at half-mast.

The 54 year old had health problems since being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008 after losing consciousness at Madrid Airport.

The five-time Major Champion had four operations to remove the tumour as well as undergoing chemotherapy.

Ballesteros, who claimed 87 titles over his career, won The Open in 1979, 1984 and 1988 and became the first European to win the Masters Tournament at Augusta National in 1980, repeating the feat in 1983.

He also enjoyed a sensational Ryder Cup career as both player and captain - playing in eight Ryder Cups and winning 20 points from 37 matches before guiding Europe to victory over the United States at Valderrama in 1997.

He appeared in public for the first time following the surgery in May 2009 when he went to watch his local football team Racing Santander and was given a standing ovation.

He had called his battle against the tumour the "hardest challenge of my life."

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