Cricket rallies behind devastated star
Ben Stokes' father Ged Stokes, a New Zealand rugby league international, has died after a battle with brain cancer, it was announced on Wednesday.
Stokes, who played rugby league in England in the 1980s and returned as a coach, was diagnosed with the disease in January.
New Zealand-born Ben Stokes missed most of England's summer Test series in Pakistan after returning to Christchurch to be with his father.
However, he played in all three Twenty20 matches on England's tour of South Africa. He was rested for the one-day internationals, which were scrapped over coronavirus concerns.
The cricket world immediately rallied around the game's best all-rounder.
"All our thoughts are with Ben Stokes and his family following the passing of his father, Ged," England Cricket tweeted.
"We are very saddened to hear of the passing of Ged Stokes," England's Barmy Army tweeted. "Our thoughts go out to the whole family."
Stokes' IPL franchise the Rajasthan Royals added: "RIP Ged Stokes. One of the greatest characters in our special cricket family. We're with you Ben. Strength to you and your family."
His English county team wrote: "Durham Cricket would like to send our thoughts to Ben Stokes and family following the sad news of the passing of his father Ged Stokes."
Cricket analyst Simon Hughes: "What desperately sad news about Ged Stokes. He has been such a tower of strength for Ben Stokes and his family. He is a huge loss to the sporting world."
Stokes had paid tribute to his dad when he was in hospital celebrating his ninth Test century in Port Elizabeth by saluting him with his middle finger folded in.
Stokes has done the gesture for many years to pay reference to his dad - who had part of his middle finger amputated to overcome persistent dislocations.
There was also an outpouring of emotion from the rugby league community.
The Rugby Football League said on Twitter: "We are saddened to learn that Ged Stokes has passed away.
"Ged was a New Zealand international who became a fine servant to the British game with his work in rugby league across Cumbria.
"The RFL sends its condolences to the Stokes family. Rest in Peace, Ged."
Workington rugby league club said in a statement: "It is with great sadness that we learn that our former player and coach Ged Stokes has passed away.
"Ged is written into the fabric of Town history and will be sadly missed."
Whitehaven also said they were "deeply saddened" by the death of a figure who was "a major part of Cumbrian rugby league".
- with wires, The Sun
Originally published as Cricket rallies behind devastated star