Former Australian cricketer Bob Holland passes away after cancer battle
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Former Australian cricketer Bob Holland passes away after cancer battle

Test cricketer Bob "Dutchy" Holland has died following a battle with brain cancer, two days after he attended a tribute night in his honour in Newcastle. He was 70.

Holland died suddenly and peacefully on Sunday afternoon after suffering a brain bleed while in hospital being treated for broken ribs suffered in a fall last week.

Test hero: Bob 'Dutchy' Holland.

Test hero: Bob 'Dutchy' Holland.Credit:Peter Morris/Fairfax Media

The Southern Lakes, NSW and Australian spinner refused to go to hospital after the fall and attended a function in his honour, hosted by former Test captain Mark Taylor, at Toronto Workers Club on Friday night. "He had the best time of his life on Friday where he spent time with a lot of his mates at his dinner," son Craig told The Newcastle Herald on Sunday night.

"He showed no pain on the night and stayed till the end of the show. My family were amazed as we thought he might stay an hour or two.

"He went to the grand final of the Newcastle baseball and watched his grandson play in two games.

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"He had a bad night last night and mum decided to take him to hospital this morning. It was confirmed he had broken a few ribs."

Holland was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer in late March and had surgery a week later to remove part of the tumour, followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Craig said his father had "quickly and peacefully passed away" after suffering the brain bleed. "My family are humbled by and appreciate the support of the community and his friends for their support in the past and recent difficult times," he said.

Holland made his Test debut in 1984 at the age of 38 and famously spun Australia to victory with 10 wickets against the West Indies at the SCG in early 1985.

He played in that year's Ashes series in England and took another 10-wicket haul against New Zealand in Adelaide. He appeared in 11 Tests in all, taking 34 wickets, and in 95 first-class matches, most of them for the Blues, and was still playing state cricket into his 40s.

Rick McCosker told The Newcastle Herald in July that Holland's popularity extended throughout the cricketing world.

"They've always respected him, not just the guys he played with but the guys he played against, whether it was for the Australian team or the NSW team," McCosker said at a function where his friend was presented with life membership of the Hunter branch of The Lord's Taverners Australia.