Martin Crowe was self-medicating with a cannabis product in the months before his death, a friend of the iconic cricketer has said.
The former New Zealand captain and batting great died from cancer at the age of 53 on Thursday, prompting an outpouring of tributes from around the world.
Among them, former English cricketer and Guardian commentator Mike Selvey has written a piece for the British newspaper, in which he said Crowe, a close friend, had been self-medicating with liquid marijuana.
“The apparently hale nature of his condition was a camouflage,” Selvey wrote.
“When he was awake, he said, he did indeed feel good, but rather than undergoing yet more chemotherapy he was by then self-medicating with liquid marijuana and sleeping 15 hours a day. Happy hours though, he said.”
Crowe had been diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in October 2012 and underwent treatment for the cancer but it returned in September 2014.
Doctors identified his condition as double-hit lymphoma, a rare and aggressive blood disease. Only five per cent of those diagnosed with it live for longer than 12 months.
He chose not to continue with chemotherapy, opting instead to stay at home and manage his illness with natural remedies.
The claim comes a week after Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne asked staff to review the way medicinal cannabis applications were handed in New Zealand following the high-profile case of Nelson teenager Alex Renton.
His doctors were granted permission by Mr Dunne to use Elixinol, a restricted cannabidiol product, in the first such approval.
Former union boss Helen Kelly had also sought permission from Mr Dunne to use medical cannabis, but the application was subsequently withdrawn by her oncologist before a decision was required.