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Golf legend Seve Ballesteros’ brain tumor is cancerous and he will undergo a third operation on Friday, the La Paz Hospital have confirmed.
The surgery, designed to relieve pressure on his brain caused by swelling and bleeding that have recently developed, is “of great complexity.”
The remaining parts of the malignant tumor, located in a very deep part of the brain, will also be removed in the surgery.
The 51-year-old Ballesteros is in a stable, but serious, condition before the operation, the hospital added.
The tumor is classified as an oligoastrocytoma, a type that affects “cells that cover and protect the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord,” the statement continued.
Ballesteros was admitted to the hospital October 6, and 10 days later a sizable part of the tumor was taken out.
Part of his skull was removed — a procedure known as decompressive craniotomy — to allow room for a swelling brain to expand. Doctors said it was not uncommon after such complex operations.
Ballesteros, who won three British Opens and two Masters titles, briefly lost consciousness while at Madrid’s international airport on October 6.
In a personally signed statement from his hospital bed, Ballesteros said he faced the “hardest challenge of my life.”
Ballesteros, who won a record 50 tournaments on the European Tour, retired last year because of a long history of back pain and has since concentrated on golf course design.
Ballesteros transformed European golf. After the Ryder Cup was expanded to include continental Europe in 1979, Ballesteros helped beat the United States in 1985 to begin two decades of dominance. He also captained Europe to victory in 1997 at Valderrama, Spain.
Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal made one of the most formidable partnerships in Ryder Cup history, with 11 wins, two losses and two halves.