Australian Batsman hit by bouncer dies three days before birthday

Tributes pour in for Phillip HUghes who died from a ''vertebral artery dissection'' after a ball hit him on the base of the skull in a domestic cricket game against New South Wales in Australia

Phil Hughes, the Australian batsman who was hit in the head by a bouncer from bowler, Sean Abbott in a domestic cricket game between his club, Sheffield Shield and New South Wales on Tuesday has died; he passed away on Thursday, three days before his 26 birthday

The bowler, Sean Abbott, 22 has been distraught since the incident occured. He was there at the hospital when Hughes was announced dead. The New South Wales bowler has been receiving support from the Australia Cricket Council and players.

The team doctor, Peter Brukner confirmed he passed away, never regaining consciousness from the "vertebral artery dissection’’ which led to a "massive bleed" into the brain.

Describing the situation as ''freakish’’ Brukner added, "Vertebral artery dissection is incredibly rare. If you look in the literature, there is only 100 cases reported. There is only one previous example caused by a cricket ball."

"It is my sad duty to inform you that a short time ago Phillip Hughes passed away," Brukner said.

"He never regained consciousness following his injury on Tuesday.

"He was not in pain before he passed and was surrounded by his family and close friends.

"As a cricket community, we mourn his loss and extend our deepest sympathies to Phillip's family and friends at this incredibly sad time.

"Cricket Australia kindly asks that the privacy of the Hughes family, players and staff be respected.''

Captain of the Australian cricket team, Michael Clarke read out a statement on behalf of the 25 year-old’s family in a news conference at St. Vincent’s Hospital, where Hughes died

Speaking on behalf of parents Greg and Virginia, siblings Megan and Jason, he said: "We're devastated by the loss of our much-loved son and brother, Phillip. It's been a very difficult few days.

"We appreciate all the support we have received from family, friends, players, Cricket Australia and the general public.

"Cricket was Phillip's life and we as a family shared that love of the game with him. We would like to thank all the medical and nursing staff at St Vincent's Hospital and Cricket New South Wales medical staff for their great efforts with Phillip. We love you."

Hughes fell face first to the ground when he was hit at the base of the skull after the ball navigated past his face helmet.

He received CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation at the ground before being taken to St Vincent's Hospital, where he had a 90-minute operation to relieve pressure on his brain.

"It's an understatement to say we're completely devastated.

"The word tragedy gets used too often in sport, but this freak accident is a real life tragedy," said Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland.

Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott described Hughes as "a young man living out his dreams"

"His death is a very sad day for cricket and a heartbreaking day for his family. What happened has touched millions of Australians.

"For a young life to be cut short playing our national game seems a shocking aberration. He was loved, admired and respected by his team-mates and by legions of cricket fans," he said.

Australia coach Darren Lehmann tweeted: "RIP you little champ, we are all going to miss you! Love, prayers to all the Hughes family."

The International Cricket Council, ICC and England team also offered "deepest condolences to the family and friends"

"We are all shocked and saddened with the news of Phillip's passing.

"On behalf of the entire cricket community, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends," ICC Chairman, Mr Narayanaswami Srinivasan said.

"Our deepest sympathies go out to Phil Hughes' family, friends and team-mates at this incredibly sad time.

"Phil was admired and respected by all he played with and against and will never be forgotten by the cricket community," England team wrote in a statement on Twitter.

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