Russell Crowe led the tributes to his cousin, New Zealand cricketer Martin Crowe, who died aged 53 on Thursday (03Mar16).
The Hollywood superstar took to Twitter to mourn his relative, writing, "My champion, my hero, my friend. I will love you forever. RIP M.D.Crowe."
Martin, who passed away after a long battle with lymphoma cancer. Crowe was one of New Zealand's most famous sportsmen after leading his country's cricket team in the early 1990s.
In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to cricket and was inducted into the International Cricket Council's Hall of Fame in 2015.
In a 2006 joint interview with Martin, Russell revealed how the pair had lived a bachelor lifestyle together in Los Angeles in the 1990s when he was in the early stages of his acting career.
"In the middle of the 90s we spent a bit of time together in Los Angeles," he told New Zealand newsman Paul Holmes. "It was a big transition period for Marty because sports was now over and life was opening up and for me it was a transition because I was now in America making American films...In Los Angeles we had a very bachelor lifestyle."
In the interview, the cricket star told how his famous cousin landed him a role as an extra in his Oscar-winning epic Gladiator.
"The other great trip was Malta to go and see Russell on Gladiator" Martin said. "I got dressed up with my dad and my brother and we were in the movie."
Outside of his cricket career, Martin teamed up with Russell in another sport, sitting on the board of the Australian rugby team part-owned by the Gladiator actor, the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
A number of top cricket stars also paid tribute to the New Zealander, with Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, as well as former England captains Ian Botham and Michael Vaughan joining Russell in posting messages of condolence on the social media site.Martin is survived by his wife, former Miss Universe Lorraine Downes, 51, and his daughter Emma, from his first marriage.
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