Elena Baltacha Dies of Liver Cancer; Former Tennis Star Was 30

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Elena Baltacha, a former member of the Top 50 of the Women's Tennis Association, died over the weekend after a long battle with liver cancer.

She was 30 years old.

Elena Baltacha Picture

The WTA confirmed this sad news on its website, writing that the Kiev-born Baltacha died peacefully while surrounded by family and friends.

Baltacha represented Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics and was diagnosed with the diseased in January, two months after retiring from tennis and just weeks after getting married.

"We are heartbroken beyond words at the loss of our beautiful, talented and determined Bally," husband Nino Severino said in a statement. "She was an amazing person and she touched so many people with her inspirational spirit, her warmth and her kindness."

Baltacha dealt with a chronic liver condition throughout her career, receiving medication and regular blood tests. But that didn’t stop her from reaching number-one in England.

"Elena's journey was never an easy one and yet she consistently showed her strength, good humor and indomitable spirit," WTA chairman Stacey Allaster said.

Prior to her passing, Baltacha had organized a tennis charity event in June, "Rally for Bally," to raise money for a cancer hospital and her tennis academy.

It will go ahead in her memory, with those involved including childhood friend Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova and Tim Henman.

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