Elena Baltacha: Tennis star dies aged 30

(CNN) -- The tennis world is in mourning after Elena Baltacha died at the age of 30 after losing her battle with liver cancer.

Baltacha, who was born in Ukraine, had retired from the sport in November 2013.

"We are heartbroken beyond words at the loss of our beautiful, talented and determined Bally," read a statement from Nino Severino, Baltacha's husband and long-time coach.

"She was an amazing person and she touched so many people with her inspirational spirit, her warmth and her kindness."

Aged 19, Baltacha was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a condition that effects the bile ducts and the liver.

Baltacha turned pro in 1997 and spent 132 weeks as British No. 1 between December 2009 and June 2012.

She won 11 International Tennis Federation Pro Circuit titles, reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2002 and advanced to the third round of the Australian Open as recently as 2010.

In September 2010 she reached a career-high 49th in the world rankings.


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