Tony Gwynn: Legendary baseball player loses fight to cancer aged 54

The San Diego Padres player accumulated 3,141 hits over his 20-year-long career

Baseball player Tony Gwynn has died at the age of 54, following a long-term battle with cancer.

The San Diego Padres player – who enjoyed a lengthy 20-year-long career – underwent numerous surgeries to remove cancerous tumours from his mouth, which he blamed on a tobacco-chewing habit. He was first diagnosed with cancer of a salivary gland in 2011.

San Diego Padres paid tribute to the sportsman with the following tweet:

“We are terribly sad to say goodbye to our teammate, our friend and a legend, Tony Gwynn. Rest in peace, Mr. Padre,” the tweet read.

His son, Tony Gwynn Jr, said that his father’s fight with the disease had become more difficult over recent months.

“This has been the hardest of the four years he's fought it, by far," Tony Jr told CSN Philly in a feature published on 15 June.

“When I left for spring training he was in a good spot, and now he's not in that same spot, so from that standpoint I guess it has worsened.

“But in the big scheme of things, which is getting healthy so he can do the things he wants to do, I see light at the end of the tunnel. I can't say that he does, but then again he's the one going through this, and it's tough on him.”

Born in Los Angeles, Gwynn – who started his major league career in 1982 – accumulated 3,141 hits and a .338 batting average. In 2011, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011 with one of the highest voting percentages ever at 97.61.

Nicknamed Mr Padre, Gwynn was forced to take leave of absence from his job as San Diego State baseball coach in March to undergo further cancer treatment.

He is survived by wife Alicia Gwynn, and two children; his daughter R ‘n’ B singer Anisha Nicole and major league outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr.