Ben Stokes has paid an emotional tribute to his father who died aged 65 after losing a long battle with brain cancer.
The England Cricket World Cup hero, 29, posted a picture of Ged along with a series of snaps pulling a ‘three finger salute’ in honour of him.
He wrote: ‘In different places now me and you Ged but knowing you’ll always have this smile on your face make’s me smile every time I think of you. Love you forever and always.’
Former rugby league player and coach Ged Stokes was diagnosed with brain cancer in January and spent five weeks seriously ill in hospital in Johannesburg this year.
He had returned home to Christchurch in New Zealand with his wife Deborah, where he was living at the time of his death.
The England Cricket World Cup hero, 29, posted a picture of Ged along with a series of snaps pulling a ‘three finger salute’ in honour of him (pictured)
He wrote: ‘In different places now me and you Ged but knowing you’ll always have this smile on your face make’s me smile every time I think of you. Love you forever and always’
Ged Stokes (pictured), 64, was taken seriously ill during the winter and further tests back home made the heartbreaking diagnosis
Ben withdrew from England’s summer test series with Pakistan in August to go to New Zealand after the cancer diagnosis.
The news of his death was released by Ged’s former side Workington Town in Cumbria on Tuesday afternoon.
It said in a statement: ‘It is with great sadness that we learn our former player and coach Ged Stokes has passed away.
‘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.’
England Cricket team’s official Instagram, bowlers Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson were among those paying tribute.
Piers Morgan wrote: ‘Incredibly sad news. My deepest condolences to you and your family Ben. RIP Ged.’
Rajastan Royals, the Indian Premier League T20 team which is featured on Ged’s t-shirt in the post, said: ‘Stay strong Ben.’
Surrey star Rikki Clarke put ‘thoughts are with you and your family bud’, while England batting legend Kevin Pietersen posted a praying emoji.
Ben’s agent Phoenix Management added: ‘Our thoughts prayers and love go out to Ben, Clare, Layton, Libby, Deb and all the Stokes family at the news of Geds passing earlier today. A great man who will be sadly missed.’
Having first come to the UK as a player with Workington back in 1982, Ged returned as a coach in 2003.
He later managed Whitehaven for three seasons from 2008 and also took charge of the Serbian national team.
After his cancer diagnosis Ged 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.’
Each time Ben scores a century in cricket he gives a ‘three finger salute’ in honour of his father.
The gesture stems from when Ged injured his middle finger and was told to choose between the finger and his rugby league career. He chose rugby and lost the finger.
Ben spoke for the first time in August after his father tragically revealed he has brain cancer. Pictured, the famed ‘three finger salute’ Ben gives after scoring a century to honour his father
In October Ben left his family to play cricket after taking a short break to spend time with his father (pictured centre)
Ben is pictured as a child with his father. Stokes senior required surgery on a bleed on the brain and when he returned to New Zealand in January he was diagnosed with cancer
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.
Ben continued on the tour of South Africa over the winter with his father in a Johannesburg hospital recovering with 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 Weekend Herald: ‘I didn’t sleep for a week and my head wasn’t really in it. Leaving [the team] was the right choice from a mental point of view.’
Stokes withdrew from England’s Test series with Pakistan to be with his father in New Zealand
Stokes repeatedly celebrated with this hand gesture in South Africa in reference to his father
Prior to resuming his cricket career in India in October, the all-rounder wrote in his Mirror column: ‘Saying goodbye to my dad, my mum and my brother in Christchurch was tough.
‘It has been a difficult time for us as a family, but we’ve pulled together and supported each other as best we can.
‘And I was able to get on the plane with my parents’ love and blessing after we reached the decision, for me to get back playing, as a family with no external influences.
‘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.’