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Gary Player's wife dies after battle with cancer

August 18, 2021

David Cannon

Vivienne Player, wife of Gary Player, died on Wednesday after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer.

Childhood sweethearts, Gary first asked Vivienne to marry him at 15 years old. The couple eventually married on Jan. 19, 1957, and celebrated their 64th anniversary earlier this year. Together the couple has six children, 22 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

"I cannot describe the deep sense of sadness I feel at having lost the one person who has always meant the world to me," Player said in a statement. "She fully supported my career and raised our six children almost singlehandedly while I was touring the world playing golf. She was a devoted wife, a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and a wonderful human being who cared so deeply for others and lived her life in service to others."

Vivienne would often travel with Gary on his global excursions, serving as a tutor to their children. She was the brother of professional Bobby Verwey, who won several tournaments including the 1991 Senior British Open. Vivienne was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June 2020.

"Vivienne taught me the value of love, faith and trust. She taught our children those same values, and they were blessed to have a mother who lived those values every single day," Player said.