England all-rounder Ben Stokes' father Ged, who was himself a former rugby player for New Zealand, passed away on Tuesday after battling brain cancer. Ged was a former New Zealand rugby league representative who coached for a decade in England, where Ben Stokes was raised from age 12. His illness was diagnosed in January when he returned to Christchurch from South Africa where he had been watching England's four-Test series against South Africa. Ged Stokes was admitted to hospital in Johannesburg with a brain bleed just before England's Boxing Day Test.
His former his former rugby club Workington Town confirmed his passing with a statement on social media.
"It is with great sadness that we learn our former player and coach Ged Stokes has passed away,” Workington Town said in a statement.
"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."
Ged coached Workington Town’s fellow side Whitehaven and also took charge of Serbia in the international circuit.
Earlier in the summer, Stokes had pulled out of the Test series against Pakistan midway through the series for family reasons.
He also missed the first half of Indian Premier League in the UAE before joining his franchise Rajasthan Royals for the last phase of the tournament.
"My dad was very strong on the responsibilities I have. He told me I have a duty to do the job that I do and I have a duty as a husband and father as well," Stokes had recently said.
"We gave it all a lot of thought and talked it over at length, and we came to a decision that now sees me back focusing on the game."
Stokes was recently in action for England during a three-match T20I series in South Africa, a series the visitors won 3-0.
This was to be followed by a three-match ODI series, the start of which was first postponed and later cancelled due to a number of positive coronavirus tests in the England and South Africa camps, as well as others present in the bubble.