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Ballesteros successfully undergoes brain surgery

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-10-25

Spanish golf legend Severiano Ballesteros underwent a third bout of brain surgery in Madrid to treat a brain tumour. The operation ended with "no complications" according to the hospital representatives.

Spanish golf legend Seve Ballesteros Friday underwent a third and successful operation to ease swelling in his brain and remove the remains of a tumour, the Madrid hospital where he is being treated said.

"The patient Mr. Severiano Ballesteros has undergone a new surgery that has ended at 5:00 pm today Friday and no complications occurred," the La Paz hospital said in a statement.

The operation, which started at 10:30 am "achieved the targets originally planned and has eliminated the oedema and the remnants of the tumor."

The hospital on Thursday said the surgery was aimed at treating a brain oedema, which is swelling caused by a buildup of fluid, and an "intercerebral haematoma", or accumulation of blood in the brain.

Surgeons also hope to "remove the remains of the tumour," the statement said.

Crown Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish throne, expressed his support for the 51-year-old at a televised awards ceremony in the northern city of Oviedo.

"Today we remember Seve Ballesteros with special affection and concern who, as he himself has said, is playing the match of his life at the moment. For him, from here, a hug from all of us," he said.

Ballesteros, who collected 87 titles before knee and back problems forced him to retire last year, was taken to La Paz Hospital on October 6 after he collapsed and briefly lost consciousness at Madrid airport.

He underwent surgery on October 14 to remove the brain tumour. Two days later, he underwent a second operation to ease a build-up of fluid in the brain.

The hospital said Thursday the tumour has been classified as an "oligoastrocytoma (which affects ... cells that cover and protect the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord). It is located in an area that requires a very thorough approach of great complexity."

Seen as one of golf's all-time greats, Ballesteros lifted five majors.

He won the British Open in 1979, 1984 and 1988 and became the first European to win the Augusta Masters in 1980, an achievement he repeated in 1983.

He was an influential figure in the Ryder Cup, winning 20 points from 37 matches and captaining Europe to victory at Valderrama in 1997.

Back problems though started to trouble him in the late 1990s and his form and confidence gradually ebbed away. On July 16, 2007, he announced his retirement, although having turned 50 he was eligible for the Champions Tour and European Seniors Tour.

George O'Grady, chief executive of The European Tour, said the whole sporting world was thinking of Ballesteros.

"Not only I and everyone at The European Tour but also everyone in the world of golf is supporting Seve in his battle," said O'Grady.

"I cannot start to say just how many people have sent their support to him through the Tour. There is not a telephone call or a meeting that starts without the other party asking for detail's of Seve's condition.

"We and everyone in the world of sport wishes him the quickest and fullest recovery."

Date created : 2008-10-25