Gifted New Zealand cricketer Martin Crowe has been remembered as an "inspiration".
Crowe, 53, yesterday lost his battle against double hit lymphoma, which was first reported just over a month after the legendary cricketer's 50th birthday.
Crowe's immense talent was recognised early and he made his test debut in 1982 at 19, and wore the silver fern for 14 years, including captaining the NZ Cricket team from 1990 to 1994.
Former teammate Chris Pringle, who lives in Tauranga, said it was a "very sad" day for him personally and for the whole New Zealand cricketing family.
"Martin fought bravely to the end," Mr Pringle said.
Mr Pringle, who played under Crowe's captaincy from 1990 to 1994, said he and the other players had huge respect for everything the gifted cricketer had done for New Zealand cricket. "Even as a young man I looked up to Martin, who was always an exciting player to watch. Those three or four years playing under his captaincy was a very memorable and exciting part of my life."
Mr Pringle said Crowe was up there with Sir Richard Hadlee in terms of cricket folklore, and he was one of New Zealand's legends both as a player and as a captain. "Martin was always a very intense man because of his high goals and the way he went about playing with such huge energy, drive and desire to win. As a leader and a player he inspired many other players to raise their own standards and they got better at the game."
Mr Pringle said people would continue to refer to Mr Crowe for many, many decades to come as New Zealand's greatest batsman and one of the giants of the game.
A funeral service will be held at Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral next Friday.