The father of England cricket star Ben Stokes has died after a battle with brain cancer, his former rugby club has announced.
Former rugby league player and coach Ged Stokes was diagnosed with the illness in January and spent five weeks seriously ill in hospital in Johannesburg earlier this year.
Stokes, 65, had returned home to Christchurch in New Zealand with his wife Deborah, where he was living at the time of his death.
Workington Town, for whom he played and coached, said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we learn our former player and coach Ged Stokes has passed away.
“Ged is written into the rich fabric of Town history and will be greatly missed.
“Our thoughts are with Deb, Ben and James.
“Ged still has many, many friends here in West Cumbria and we send our thoughts to them too.”
Ged also coached Workington’s fellow Cumbrian side Whitehaven and took charge of Serbia on the international stage.
Ben left England’s bio-secure bubble against Pakistan mid-series to spend time with his dad before resuming cricket at the IPL.
Prior to jetting off for India, the all-rounder wrote in his Mirror column: “Saying goodbye to my dad, my mum and my brother in Christchurch was tough. It has been a difficult time for us as a family, but we’ve pulled together and supported each other as best we can.
“And I was able to get on the plane with my parents’ love and blessing after we reached the decision, for me to get back playing, as a family with no external influences.”