Reaction to the death Thursday of Martin Crowe

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Reaction on Thursday to the death of former New Zealand cricket captain Martin Crowe, from lymphoma at the age of 53:

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''My champion, my hero, my friend. I will love you forever. RIP'' - Actor Russell Crowe, Martin Crowe's New Zealand-born cousin.

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''Very sad to hear of the passing of Martin Crowe this morning. An inspiration to me and so many others. One of the true greats'' - Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming.

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''Kiwi great Martin Crowe is no more and the cricket world is poorer again. Truly a giant modern batsman and fine analyst'' - Former India spin bowler Bishan Bedi.

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''He was a world-class athlete whose exploits on the pitch endeared him to cricket fans around the world, whose leadership helped propel our Black Caps to the 1992 Cricket World Cup semi-final and whose tutelage has helped the next generation to excel'' - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

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''A modern great and cricket icon Martin Crowe is no more. Brilliant cricket brain and a warm persona'' - India leg spinner Anil Kumble.

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''You will always be a legend in my eyes. Thank you for all your help and advice. Now you can rest easy my friend. Miss you already'' - Former Australia captain Michael Clarke.

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''So sad to hear the passing of Martin Crowe. One of the game's greats on and off the field'' - former Australia batsman Damien Martyn.

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''So sad to hear news of Martin Crowe passing away. For those of us who grew up watching cricket in the 80s we owe him immensely'' - former New Zealand allrounder Scott Styris.

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''I will miss him dearly as over the last couple of years there were messages of encouragement between us both as we battled our own demons. His situation however, always put mine in perspective and I marvelled at his resolve. Today is a sad day'' - former New Zealand allrounder Chris Cairns.

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''On the field, he was one of the best ever, it's as simple as that. He was a great competitor, had great technique, won a lot of games for New Zealand and is bracketed up there with the greats of the game'' - former Australia captain Allan Border.

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''Martin Crowe was amongst the finest players of his generation, a delightful stroke-maker who made an enormous impact in New Zealand and around the cricket world. He was an important player in the New Zealand teams of the mid `80s which went unbeaten in 10 of 13 series from the time of his debut'' - Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.

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''Saddened to hear about the demise of one of my favorite batsmen Martin Crowe. A great technician and astute reader of the game'' - India batsman V.V.S. Laxman.

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''He affected so many people in so many different ways. He was a passionate crciket person and a lot of people around the cricket world are mouring him'' - New Zealand coach Mike Hesson.

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''Rest in peace Martin Crowe. A wonderful batman and a man with courage and conviction. Inspired generations of batsmen around the world'' - Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara.

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''Just a legend of the game. His style of cricket was very pleasing on the eye but what he did for the game was huge'' - New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.

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