Heather Clarke Dies After Long Battle with Cancer

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LONDON -- The European Tour announced that Darren Clarke's wife, Heather, succumbed to cancer early Sunday morning. She was 39.
 
Heather Clarke had a long and public battle with breast cancer that had forced Darren to withdraw from several events over the last few years.
 
Heather Clarke
Darren Clarke said of his wife, 'She was a wonderful and enormously supportive wife, mother and friend.'
Back in April, he left the Houston Open on the PGA TOUR when Heather received results from ongoing medical tests. He pulled out after one round, despite being two strokes out of the lead, to discuss further treatment with Heather and her doctors.
 
'Heather's courage and bravery throughout the last two years when she was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer has been an inspiration,' Darren Clarke said in a statement released through International Sports Management Group.
 
'Heather never complained once throughout her ordeal and we will all miss her greatly. She was a wonderful and enormously supportive wife, mother and friend.'
 
After missing the cut at the British Open, Darren Clarke said he was not sure when he would play again. With that, Clarke all but stated that he would skip this year's Ryder Cup. Though not currently qualified for the team, the Ulsterman likely would have been a captain's choice as he has played on the last four European Ryder Cup teams.
 
'All the players and the guys out here on tour have known that Heather has been struggling for a couple of years now and we all just feel very sorry for Darren and sorry for his family at this time,' said European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam. 'I just hope they can get over this as soon as possible.'
 
Heather's death has affected at least one player's plans for next week's final major, the PGA Championship.
 
'Our two families are very much intertwined, obviously me and Darren out here, but Heather and Ali were the best of friends and our kids are in the same class at school,' said Irishman Paul McGinley, who was playing at the European Tour event in the Netherlands. 'I don't know how I am going to concentrate today. I will play today, but I have pulled out of next week's U.S. PGA Championship to attend the funeral.'
 
As a mark of respect, all players at the KLM Open will wear black ribbons in Sunday's final round.