Sir Richard Hadlee has been diagnosed with bowel cancer. According to a statement released by New Zealand Cricket on behalf of his wife Lady Dianne Hadlee, he has undergone surgery to remove a tumour.
"Last month, Richard had a routine, 3-year colonoscopy, and we discovered that he has bowel cancer," the statement said. "He has since had an operation to remove the tumour. This operation went extremely well and he has made an excellent recovery from surgery.
"As a safeguard, further treatment in the form of chemotherapy will commence shortly and last for a few months. It is expected that, in time, he will have a full recovery."
Hadlee, 66, is widely considered New Zealand's greatest ever cricketer, and was one of the four great fast-bowling allrounders of the 1980s alongside Imran Khan, Ian Botham and Kapil Dev. He took 431 Test wickets - a world record at the time of his retirement - in 86 matches at an average of 22.29, and also contributed 3124 runs at 27.16.
His performances were central to New Zealand's rise as a serious cricketing power, as match figures of 7 for 130 and 10 for 100 in their first ever wins over Australia and England, respectively, would suggest. In all, he took 173 wickets at 13.06 in New Zealand Test wins.
During his last tour of England, in 1990, he was knighted for his services to cricket.