Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna died on Sunday aged 49, the WTA have confirmed.
BBC Sport's Russell Fuller relayed the news from a statement made by the WTA on Monday:
Russell Fuller @russellcfuller
The WTA has announced “with deep sadness” the passing of the 1998 Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna, who has died peacefully, and surrounded by her family, in the Czech Republic2017-11-20 08:56:42
Russell Fuller @russellcfuller
Jana has had cancer, and was only 49. Not only a wonderful singles and doubles player, but in recent years a charming member of the BBC commentary team at Wimbledon.2017-11-20 08:58:34
WTA CEO Steve Simon said: "Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her. Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA. Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana’s family."
The Czech won 24 singles titles and received a career-high ranking of world No. 2.
Her pinnacle was her victory at Wimbledon in 1998, her penultimate season as a professional. It was her third time of asking at SW19 having lost in finals to Steffi Graf in 1993 and Martina Hingis in 1997, and she also reached the 1991 Australian Open final only to lose to Monica Seles.
Novotna's tears after her defeat to Graf, which saw her consoled by the Duchess of Kent having led the third set 4-1 before losing five games in succession, became one of the enduring moments of her career, as BT Sport's Jake Humphrey noted:
Jake Humphrey @mrjakehumphrey
A shoulder to cry on. The defining image of Jana Novotna. So very sad, so very young. RIP https://t.co/tXV899vShR2017-11-20 09:39:05
In the doubles, Novotna reached No. 1 and won 76 titles including 16 Grand Slams, four of which came in mixed competition, and she also won both the Fed Cup and the Hopman Cup.
Fellow sportspeople, broadcasters and journalists paid tribute to her on Twitter:
Jana Novotna’s Wimbledon story touched millions within and beyond tennis. She will be much missed but never forgotten.2017-11-20 09:46:04
Matthew Pinsent @matthewcpinsent
No better demonstration of the emotion of sport than Jana Novotna. RIP. https://t.co/FFZrzX8vgp2017-11-20 09:21:21
Georgie Bingham @georgiebingham
I bloody loved Jana Novotna. Anyone who didn’t love her after her tears & joy at Wimbledon isn’t human surely.2017-11-20 09:27:49
Dan Walker @mrdanwalker
Incredibly sad news about the death of Jana Novotna. Loved watching her in the 1990s. Crying on court against Graf and then redemption in 1998.2017-11-20 09:18:05
Martina Navratilova @Martina
The tennis world is so sad about the passing of Jana Novotna...I am gutted and beyond words- Jana was a true friend and an amazing woman...2017-11-20 12:25:32
A serve and volley specialist, Novotna also earned two silver medals for doubles at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and Atlanta in 1996, as well as a bronze medal in the latter for singles.
The 49-year-old moved into coaching in recent years and briefly coached Marion Bartoli in 2013, just three months before the Frenchwoman won Wimbledon and broke Novotna's record of winning a maiden Grand Slam after the most attempts.
Novotna was entered into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.