Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle, who has died aged 36, hopes his long battle with cancer somehow helps other families suffering through the disease.
Lyle’s wife Briony said the popular sportsman died on Wednesday night.
She said Lyle asked for her to deliver a message: “Thanks for your support, it meant the world. My time was short but if I have helped people think and act on behalf of those families who suffer through cancer, hopefully it wasn’t wasted.”
Lyle spent his final days surrounded by loved ones when he decided to go into palliative care after ending treatment for a third bout of myeloid leukaemia.
The former US PGA Tour player is survived by his wife and daughters Lusi, 6, and Jemma, 2.
“Lusi, Jemma and I are filled with grief and now must confront our lives without the greatest husband and father we could ever have wished for,” Ms Lyle said in a statement, issued on Thursday by Golf Australia.
“At the same time, we have been blessed and overwhelmed with the messages and actions of support from around the world and feel comforted that Jarrod was able to happily impact so many people throughout his life. Our humble thanks to you all.
“Jarrod was able to take in many of the unbelievably kind and generous acts and words in his final few days and was overwhelmed by the emotional outpouring.”
Lyle’s friend and fellow Australian golfer Mark Leishman said the golfing fraternity was shattered.
“It’s obviously devastating news for us over here but we can’t imagine what Jarrod’s family are going through,” Leishman told news agency AAP.
“It’s a life taken way too soon.
“He showed us how to face the toughest times with the utmost positivity and his fight to the very end was so inspiring.
“He didn’t enter palliative care until he really had to which just showed his fighting spirit.”
English golfer Justin Rose was among those paying tribute to Lyle.
“Such a sad day, we will all miss you so much Jarrod. Thinking of his family at this time,” he posted on Twitter.
South African golfer Ernie Els posted on Twitter: “He fought a good fight and will be forever remembered for his courage, strength, perseverance and the light he brought to all of our lives.”
Australian golfer Scott Hend also expressed his sadness on Twitter: “RIP big unit … going to miss that big laugh.”
The death of Lyle, a winner of two professional tournaments, had left the PGA Tour “heartbroken”, the tour’s commissioner Jay Monahan said.
“Jarrod was a true inspiration in the way he faced cancer with a persistently positive attitude and he carried himself with incredible grace, dignity and courage through the recurrences of this relentless disease,” Monahan said in a statement.
A private funeral service is to be held for Lyle in coming days before a public memorial service, at a date yet to be announced, at Lyle’s home club, The Sands golf course in Torquay, Victoria.