Former British tennis ace dies from liver cancer at 30
Britain's former Number One woman tennis player Elena Baltacha has died from liver disease at the age of 30.
Ms Baltacha had suffered from a chronic liver disease since the age of 19, yet had still managed her physical condition well enough to maintain a lengthy career in professional tennis. She retired from the women's tour in November last year, having spent several years as Britain's No 1.
Then, in March, came the most bitter of blows. Baltacha went into hospital for checks and discovered that her liver had now turned cancerous.
There are few more virulent forms of cancer, and the end came rapidly.
"We are heartbroken beyond words at the loss of our beautiful, talented and determined Bally," said Baltacha's husband and former coach Nino Severino, who had married her just six months ago. "She was an amazing person and she touched so many people with her inspirational spirit, her warmth and her kindness," he said.
Among those people were the 70 students at the Elena Baltacha Academy in Ipswich, which she and her husband had run since she quit the tour.
In a career highlight, in 2002, while still only 18, she knocked the seeded South African Amanda Coetzer out of Wimbledon. (© Daily Telegraph, London)