Jane McGrath, the wife of former Australia cricketer Glenn McGrath, has died after complications resulting from surgery. McGrath, 42, battled breast, hip and brain cancer and became well-known for setting up with her husband the McGrath Foundation, which aimed in part to increase nursing care for breast cancer sufferers.
"It is with deep sadness that the family and friends of Jane McGrath, beloved wife of former Australian cricketer Glenn and loving mother of James and Holly, must announce she passed away at her home this morning," a statement issued by the McGrath Foundation said. "With Glenn and their two children by her side, Jane's wonderful life ended peacefully after a sudden decline in her health over the past week."
McGrath hoped Jane's story would serve as an inspiration for other women fighting cancer. "Jane would want those women who are battling breast cancer to stay strong," he said in a statement.
"She would want them to draw strength from the fact that she didn't only 'survive' breast cancer for 11 years, but during that time she lived life to the fullest and found pleasure in the simple things so many people take for granted." The funeral will be at The Garrison Church, Sydney, at 11am on Wednesday.
Ricky Ponting, speaking on behalf of the Australian team currently on tour in the West Indies, expressed his deepest sympathy. "Jane was a wonderful person who fought and maintained grace and dignity during her long-term illness," he said. "She was an exceptionally friendly and lovely person who displayed great courage and stoicism during her illness. She was a tremendous mother to James and Holly and shared a very special and deep relationship with Glenn in the time they had together.
"All of us are thinking about Glenn and their children at this very sad time. We all wish to convey that our best wishes go with him and to know our heartfelt sympathies are with the family at this time. Jane will be very fondly remembered by all of us."
Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, offered his condolences to the family. "Jane's courageous struggle touched all Australians," he said. "Jane was an inspiration whose legacy will continue to benefit so many others."
James Sutherland, the CEO of Cricket Australia, also paid tribute. "Jane was well-known, loved and admired throughout Australian cricket and was one of the most respected and admired members of the Australian cricket team family group during Glenn McGrath's playing days," Sutherland said.
"All of us who met her were charmed by her dignity and good humour as she tackled her battle with her illness for more than ten years. We also greatly respected the work she and Glenn did through their foundation, work which brought and will continue to bring tangible comfort to so many others."
Australia will wear pink ribbons and use pink grips on their bats during the first one-day international against West Indies in St Vincent on Tuesday, in her memory. Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden have previously batted with a pink grip to raise money for the McGrath Foundation.