FORMER New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns has been left paralysed after suffering a stroke during heart surgery.
The 51-year-old's family have confirmed the legendary all-rounder faces a 'long road to recovery' following the emergency procedure.
Cairns was admitted to hospital earlier this month after suffering a surprise heart attack in Canberra, Australia.
The doctors discovered a tear in the lining of a major artery and were forced to perform emergency heart surgery.
The ex-international star suffered a stroke on the operating table and has been left with paralysis in his legs.
A statement from the family's lawyer reads: "During the life-saving emergency heart surgery Chris underwent in Sydney, he suffered a stroke in his spine.
"This his resulted in paralysis in his legs.
"As a result he will be undertaking a significant rehabilitation process at a specialist spinal hospital in Australia."
Cairns was a regular for New Zealand between 1989 and 2006, featuring in 68 Tests, 215 ODIs and two T20Is for the Black Caps.
The talented all-rounder is also fondly remembered by county cricket fans, spending several English summers playing for Nottinghamshire.
The statement continued: "Chris and his family remain appreciative of the immense public support as they deal with this difficult time.
"They also appreciate the way in which their privacy has been respected.
"Chris and his family now want to focus on spending time together where possible and making whatever progress they can in his recovery.
"We will update everyone when there is more news, but that is likely to be some time away."
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