Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns has suffered paralysis in his legs after the stroke in his spine during life-saving heart surgery in Australia, according to reports. The 51-year-old has returned to the Australian capital Canberra where he lives but remains in a serious condition after suffering complications following major heart surgery in Sydney.
"During the life-saving emergency heart surgery, Chris underwent in Sydney he suffered a stroke in his spine. This has resulted in paralysis in his legs," Cairns' lawyer Aaron Lloyd said on Friday in a statement published in stuff.co.nz.
"As a result, he will be undertaking a significant rehabilitation process at a specialist spinal hospital in Australia."
Cairns faces a long road to recovery after he suffered an aortic dissection, a major medical event that saw him transferred to Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital on life support earlier this month. Aortic dissection is a serious condition in which a tear happens in the inner layer of the body's main artery (aorta).
"Chris and his family remain appreciative of the immense public support as they deal with this difficult time. They also appreciate the way in which their privacy has been respected," the statement from his family read.
Cairns' condition was described as "serious but stable" on August 11 on transfer to Sydney. Last week, he was off life support and communicating with his family. One of the best all-rounders of his time, Cairns played 62 Tests, 215 ODIs and two T20Is for New Zealand between 1989 and 2006.
He was named one of the Wisden Almanack's cricketers of the year in 2000 when at the peak of his powers. His father Lance Cairns also played Test cricket for New Zealand.
Cairns and his wife Melanie live in Canberra and have two young children. The 51-year-old, however, also faced allegations of match-fixing when he played in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League in 2008 and fought many legal battles to prove his innocence during which he won a defamation case against IPL founder Lalit Modi in London in 2012.
He again faced fixing allegations from fellow cricketers Lou Vincent and Brendon McCullum before being acquitted of perjury and perverting the course of justice following a gruelling trial in London court in 2015.
Fighting corruption allegations took a toll on his life and at one point in time, he had to take up a job with the Auckland Council to drive trucks and clean bus shelters to foot the legal bills.