BREAKING NEWS: AUSTRALIAN cricketer Phillip Hughes has died in a Sydney hospital two days after he was critically injured in a freak on-field accident at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The 25-year-old batsman was struck in the head by a ball during a Sheffield Shield match at the SCG on Tuesday afternoon.
He was rushed to St Vincent’s hospital in a critical condition where he underwent emergency surgery to relieve swelling on the brain, but he never regained consciousness.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
He was pronounced dead on Thursday afternoon after the decision was made to switch off his life support.
Australian Team Doctor Peter Brukner released a statement confirming the tragic development.
“It is my sad duty to inform you that a short time ago Phillip Hughes passed away,” Dr 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.”
The announcement has rocked the nation to its core, with Australian flags being lowered to half-mast across the country.
On the Gold Coast, councillors paused their meeting in shock after learning of the tragic development.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also released a statement, saying the tragedy had “touched millions of Australians”.
“Phillip Hughes was was a young man living out his dreams,” Mr Abbott in a statement. “His death is a very sad day for cricket and a heartbreaking day for his family.”
“What happened has touched millions of Australians. For a young life to be cut short playing our national game seems a shocking aberration.”
“He was loved, admired, and respected by his teammates and by legions of cricket fans. Australians’ thoughts and prayers are with the Hughes family,” Mr Abbott said.
Cricket Australia has asked the privacy of the Hughes family, players and staff be respected.
“As a cricket community we mourn his loss and extend our deepest sympathies to Phillip’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time,” Dr Brukner said.
Hughes was just three days shy of celebrating his 26th birthday.