Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Wednesday, 18 April 2007 18:03 UK

Rugby hero's right leg amputated

Ray Gravell
Ray Gravell is a regular presenter on BBC's Radio Cymru

Wales and Lions rugby legend Ray Gravell has had his right leg amputated below the knee.

The BBC presenter underwent the surgery after developing an infection brought on by diabetes. He recently had two toes amputated.

A former Llanelli captain, Gravell was a key member of the Grand Slam and Triple Crown winning Welsh teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

His wife Mari said they had been "overwhelmed" by messages of support.

Gravell is recovering at West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen.

Everyone has been so thoughtful - their messages have been a big help in keeping Ray's spirits up
Mari Gravell

A spokesman for Carmarthenshire NHS Trust said it was likely he would remain in hospital for several weeks.

Mrs Gravell said: "We've been overwhelmed by messages of kindness and support from former team-mates, rugby fans, radio listeners and colleagues alike.

"Everyone has been so thoughtful. Their messages have been a big help in keeping Ray's spirits up.

"It's been a big blow for Ray and he faces a lengthy stay in hospital. But everyone who's familiar with Ray knows that he'll come bouncing back."

Ray Gravell in his playing days
Ray Gravell is likely to be in hospital for several weeks

Mr Gravell, capped 23 times by Wales, was a member of the Scarlets team that famously beat the All Blacks in 1972.

He lives in Mynydd y Garreg near Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, with his wife and two young daughters on a street named after him.

After retiring from rugby he joined the BBC and has gone on to forge a successful career as a radio presenter, entertainer and television rugby commentator.

Llanelli Scarlets chief executive Stuart Gallacher said: "We all wish him a speedy recovery and I'm sure by the start of next season he'll be back with us with his usual enthusiasm and energy."



SEE ALSO
Rugby legend readmitted after op
18 Apr 07 |  South West Wales
Street name honours Gravell
26 Jul 03 |  South West Wales
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