Spain

Golf legend Seve Ballasteros dies, aged 54

Reuters/Paul McErlane

The family of Spanish golf legend Severiano Ballesteros confirmed Saturday that he died overnight at the age of 54. Ballesteros underwent surgery for a brain tumour in 2008.

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"Seve Ballesteros died at 2:10 am, surrounded by his family, in his home in Pedrena" in northwestern Spain, following "respiratory failure", his family said in a statement.

Ballesteros is being hailed as one of golf's all-time greats, a charismatic figure who lifted five Majors and led the European challenge to the decades-long US supremacy.

For two decades, from the mid-1970s to the 1990s, he was one of the sport's most celebrated personalities.

He collected 87 career titles and was a crucial ingredient in Europe's rediscovered love affair with the Ryder Cup, before retiring in 2007 with back problems.

He famously won one of his three British Open titles by playing a shot from a temporary parking lot.

Ballesteros was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour after losing consciousness at Madrid airport on 6 October 2008 and underwent four operations to remove the tumour and reduce swelling in his skull, as well as chemotherapy.

Born in the village of Pedrena near the northern Spanish port of Santander on 9 April 1957.

In 1988, he married Carmen Botin, the daughter of Emilio Botin, head of Santander bank and one of Spain's richest men. The couple had three children and divorced in 2004.

Ballesteros was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999, where he joined the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

Golf Digest magazine in 2000 ranked him as the greatest golfer Europe has produced.

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