Gary Player pays heartfelt tribute to his 'rock and soulmate' after wife loses cancer battle

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Gary and Vivienne Player in the royal box on centre court on day eleven of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. (Photo by Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images)
Gary and Vivienne Player in the royal box on centre court on day eleven of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. (Photo by Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images)

Gary Player paid tribute to Vivienne, his wife of 64 years after she died on Wednesday following her long battle with pancreatic cancer. 

Player posted a heartfelt message on his social media channels in which he called his late wife his rock and soulmate as he paid tribute to her. 

"The unthinkable has happened. My wife of 64 years, my childhood sweetheart, my rock and my soulmate Vivienne has lost her battle with pancreatic cancer," the statement read. 

"I cannot describe the deep sense of sadness I feel at having lost the one person who has always meant the world to me."

The South African golfing legend singled out her continued support for his career as he contested golf tournaments around the globe and she raised their six children, almost "single-handedly" Player said. 

"Vivienne has been a constant in my life from the moment I first set eyes on her when I was 14.

"She fully supported my career and raised our six children almost single-handedly while I was touring the world playing golf. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and a wonderful human being that cared so deeply for others and lived her life in service to others.

"Vivienne taught me the value of love, faith and trust. She taught our children those same values and they were blessed to have a mother who lived those values every single day.

"When we first met, I had no doubt that it was love at first sight and it turned out to be a love story of a lifetime. I believe it will also be so when we are finally together again.

"Until then, I will miss my Viv dearly," the statement ended.

Player, 85, is arguably South Africa's greatest sportsman, having won 163 professional golf tournaments, including nine majors.

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