15:55 05 May 2014
30-year-old former British No 1 Elena Baltacha has died of liver cancer on Sunday. The athlete, who recently retired from tennis, was diagnosed with the illness only in January.
Her husband, long-time coach Nino Severino who she married only weeks after she was diagnosed, is said to be “heartbroken.”
In a statement released by the mourning family, Severino said: "We are heartbroken beyond words at the loss of our beautiful, talented and determined Bally.
"She was an amazing person and she touched so many people with her inspirational spirit, her warmth and her kindness."
According to the same statement, Baltacha died peacefully at home.
The Lawn Tennis Association's head of women's tennis Iain Bates said in a statement: "Today we have lost a shining light from the heart of British tennis - a true role model, a great competitor and a wonderful friend.
"We have so many special memories to cherish but this leaves a gaping hole for everybody in both British and women's tennis and words simply cannot express how saddened we are by this news. All our thoughts are with Nino and the rest of Elena's family. We will miss you Bal."