Phillip Hughes has died as a result of the injuries he sustained when struck by a bouncer on Tuesday, Cricket Australia has confirmed. He was 25.
Team doctor Peter Brukner confirmed the news in a statement released on Thursday afternoon.
“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.”
Players, coaches and other friends had been in and out of St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney throughout Wednesday and Thursday, visiting Hughes and supporting his family, and each other. Australia’s captain Michael Clarke, a close friend of Hughes’, had been at the hospital until after midnight on Wednesday night and returned at about 6am on Thursday.
Brad Haddin, Steven Smith, Shane Watson, David Warner, Nathan Lyon, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Starc and Daniel Smith all spent time at the hospital, as did Ricky Ponting, Simon Katich, Phil Jaques and Brett Lee. Some flew in from interstate, including Aaron Finch, Matthew Wade, Peter Siddle, Peter Forrest, George Bailey, Ed Cowan, Justin Langer, and Cricket Australia’s CEO James Sutherland and high performance manager Pat Howard. The national coach Darren Lehmann was there as well.
Also keeping vigil at the hospital were the Hughes family, including his mother and sister, who had been at the Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and New South Wales on Tuesday when Hughes was struck by the bouncer while batting on 63.
“The entire NSW cricket community offers our heartfelt condolences to Phillip’s mother and father Virginia and Greg, sister Megan and brother Jason at this most difficult of times,” John Warn, the Cricket New South Wales chairman said. “Their grief is being felt across the country and around the cricket world as the extended cricket family comes to terms with the sad loss of a very popular and talented young player.
“Phillip touched so many people playing for NSW, Australia, South Australia, county cricket in England and the IPL in India. A lovable, quiet and affectionate young man from the farming community of Macksville, Phillip has left an indelible impression on the game as a player and a person.”
“So many in the NSW cricket family know Greg, Virginia, Jason and Megan personally. It is tragic that Phillip has been taken from them so young. He reflected their strong country values and warmth as a loving, caring family.”
Andrew Jones, the Cricket NSW chief executive, said: “Phillip is fondly remembered as a bright and cheeky young man with an infectious smile who emerged as an outstanding junior more than a decade ago. Like so many NSW and Australian players before him, Phillip moved to Sydney to play Grade Cricket and found a home at Western Suburbs.
“He rose quickly through the ranks, debuting for NSW and scoring a century in a Sheffield Shield final at 19. For all his good humour he took cricket very seriously and always worked tremendously hard at his game. Despite being in and out of the Australian team during his emerging years Phillip never complained when he was dropped or overlooked. He always focused on making himself a better player.
“It was typical of Phillip that he was fighting his way back into the national team again with a fine innings for South Australia against NSW at the SCG last Tuesday before suffering a freak accident. Phillip had already scored 26 first class centuries and his best cricket was ahead of him. It is unspeakably sad he cannot now achieve his potential in the game.”
On Tuesday, Hughes was playing against his former state when he missed his attempted hook and the ball struck him below the helmet. He underwent surgery on Tuesday after being rushed to hospital from the SCG, and was then in an induced coma.
“Phillip was hit in the neck by a cricket ball at the SCG on Tuesday,” Dr Brukner said at a press conference on Thursday. “He momentarily stood up and then immediately collapsed on the ground. Phillip took the blow at the side of the neck and as a result of that blow his vertebral artery, one of the main arteries leading to the brain, was compressed by the ball. That caused the artery to split and for bleeding to go up into the brain. He had a massive bleed into his brain. This is frequently fatal at the time.
“However, Phillip was resuscitated and then managed by in particular Dr John Orchard, the Cricket NSW doctor, and paramedical staff, and we were fortunate enough to have Dr Tim Stanley, an intensive care specialist from Newcastle, who was in the crowd and came and helped. They all did an excellent job of keeping Phillip alive and he was able to be transported by ambulance to hospital in reasonable condition.”
Hughes played 26 Tests for Australia and scored three centuries, and he appeared a strong chance to win a recall for next week’s first Test against India at the Gabba, with Clarke expected to be ruled out due to injury. Hughes first emerged as an international cricketer on the 2009 tour of South Africa, where at the age of 20 in Durban he became the youngest man ever to score two centuries in a Test.
He scored 26 first-class centuries and was a prolific scorer for New South Wales, for whom he had debuted at the age of 18, and later for South Australia. Hughes had been part of Australia’s most recent Test squad, for the series against Pakistan in the UAE, but he was not called on to play a Test in that series.
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