MELBOURNE, Australia - Angie Cunningham, the WTA's former Vice President of Player Relations and On-Site Operations, has passed away after a long battle with Motor Neurone Disease.
A staunch campaigner in raising awareness of the disease, Angie died at her Melbourne home on Tuesday, surrounded by family.
As a teenager Angie was a leading junior player, going on to work at the WTA for eight years before moving back to Australia with husband Pat to raise their two children, Maggie and Sophie. In 2012, she was diagnosed with MND, but even as her condition deteriorated she continued the fight.
Not only fight the disease, for which there is no known cause, or effective treatment, but also to raise funds and awareness for other sufferers.
Serena Williams, Martina Navratilova, Rennae Stubbs, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt were among those who rallied behind the cause, many of whom took to social media to mourn the passing of an inspirational figure in the tennis community.
Motor Neurone Disease is a group of neurological diseases that affects the voluntary muscles in the body, which control activities like speaking, walking, swallowing and general movement. It progresses over time, causing debilitating disability and eventually death. The life expectancy is two to three years.
There is no known cause for the disease, although many sufferers are athletes. In the US the disease is also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, after the famous baseball player who died from it.