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Top cricketers hope to farewell formally the game's elder statesman before travelling overseas next week for an international tournament.

Walter Hadlee, 91, died at Windermere Home in Christchurch yesterday morning. The former New Zealand captain and father of players Sir Richard, Dayle and Barry had been ill for weeks after suffering a stroke.

A statement on the family's behalf by Sir Richard Hadlee said they deeply appreciated the public support they had received in recent weeks.

Walter Hadlee will be laid to rest at what is expected to be a private family funeral in his hometown of Christchurch next week.

A public memorial service would be held at Christchurch Boys High School on October 14 "for those who wish to acknowledge Dad's innings of a lifetime and his contribution to sport, business and the community", Sir Richard said.

The New Zealand cricket team is due to leave on October 7 for the Champions Trophy tournament in India.

Team manager Lindsay Crocker said the cricketers were trying to work out a tribute, but wanted to give the Hadlee family space to grieve.

"We are not quite sure yet what the family's plans are. It becomes the end of an era when someone of that standing is gone. It leaves a big hole, and it is time for reflection for most guys involved with cricket."

Tributes flowed in from administrators and former players yesterday.