Cricket: Blackcaps great Chris Cairns on life support following medical event in Canberra

Former Blackcaps all-rounder Chris Cairns is gravely ill in Australia after suffering a major medical event.

Newshub understands the 51-year-old suffered an aortic dissection in his heart in Canberra last week. An aortic dissection is a tear of the inner layer of the body's main artery.

He is understood to have undergone several operations since, but has not responded to treatment as hoped.

The veteran of 62 tests and more than 200 one day internationals is on full life support after being transferred to St Vincent's hospital in Sydney on Tuesday night.

Former teammates and cricket rivals and pundits have posted social media tributes to the Kiwi cricket great.

Chris Harris told Stuff he was stunned by the news. The pair had played cricket together for more than 30 years, dating back to their childhood days in Christchurch.

“It's absolutely devastating," Harris says.

It's the worst news you could possibly get. Absolutely devastated. Obviously it's compounded even further when his family can't be with him because he's in Sydney. It's devastating."

“We grew up together and played all our cricket together, so I’ve got fond memories of Chris. It's absolutely devastating.”

"Thoughts and prayers are with Chris and his family," writes Andre Adams.

"Horrid situation and hoping for the best."

Meanwhile, former Blackcaps captain Brendon McCullum says his thoughts are with Cairns and the Cantabrian's extended family.

"It's a difficult subject to obviously talk about. We haven't seen each other for quite a long time," McCullum said onhis breakfast radio show on SENZ.

McCullum testified against his former teammate in the 2015 perjury trial, during which Cairns was found not guilty of charges relating to alleged match-fixing.

"Our relationship is unimportant in the whole thing, the fact is that Chris is a father and also a son to Lance and Sue. "They've already had such tragedy in their life with the loss of Chris' sister a long time ago as well.

"It's a really difficult time for those people and I know the cricket community and all those who support the Cairns family will be suffering right now. Today my family and myself are thinking of those people who are suffering."

Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum Photo credit: Photosport

It's likely Cairns' family will be unable to be by his side in Sydney, with New South Wales in a state wide lockdown.  Cairns and his family are based in Canberra. 

The Cairns family endured personal tragedy in 1993, when sister Louise was killed when a cement truck failed to stop at a level crossing at Rolleston in the South Island and collided with a passenger train.

The all-rounder scored 3320 test runs at an average of over 33, and took 218 wickets at an average of just over 29.

In ODIs, Cairns scored 4950 runs at 29.46, and took 201 wickets at 32.80.

Cairns was named as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the year in 2000, and is the son of former New Zealand all-rounder Lance Cairns.

Cairns has the seventh most sixes in test cricket history, behind McCullum, Adam Gilchrist, Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag and Brian Lara.

The New Zealander sits among some the games greats to record the 1000 runs / 100 wickets combination in tests, alongside West Indian legend Sir Garfield Sobers and others including Jacques Kallis, Imran Khan, Sir Ian Botham, and New Zealand greats Sir Richard Hadlee and Daniel Vettori.