Ben Stokes’ father Ged has died aged 65 after losing a long 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
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 Stokes (pictured), 64, was taken seriously ill during the winter and further tests back home made the heartbreaking diagnosis
Ben Stokes spoke for the first time in August after his father tragically revealed he has brain cancer
‘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.’
New Zealander Stokes first came to the UK as a player with Workington back in 1982, and then returned as coach in 2003.
He later coached Whitehaven for three seasons from 2008 and also took charge of the Serbian national team.
After his diagnosis Stokes senior said: ‘They had to assess how I travelled and from that they discovered I had a couple of tumours on my brain as well.
‘So, basically brain cancer. How that came about nobody knows but obviously I’ve had a few bangs on my head through my life so that’s probably contributed to it.’
Stokes withdrew from England’s Test series with Pakistan to be with his father in New Zealand
Earlier this year, his World Cup hero son Ben withdrew from England’s summer test series with Pakistan to head back to New Zealand after his cancer diagnosis.
Ged was admitted to hospital in Johannesburg ahead of the Boxing Day test last year.
He required surgery on a bleed on the brain and when he returned to New Zealand he was diagnosed with cancer.
Stokes repeatedly celebrated with this hand gesture in South Africa in reference to his father
Ben continued on the tour of South Africa over the winter with his father in a Johannesburg hospital recovering with his wife Deborah by his side.
It was only at the conclusion of the tour that Ged was deemed fit enough to travel back to New Zealand where he received his heartbreaking diagnosis.
In August, Ben told the