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Former Wimbledon champion Novotna dies at 49

FLUSHING MEADOWS, UNITED STATES: Jana Novotna, of the Czech Republic, speaks at a news conference 06 September, 1999, at the US Open in Flushing Meadows, New York. The 1998 Wimbledon champion announced at the conference that she would retire from the pro tennis tour at the end of the year. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- Former Wimbledon singles champion Jana Novotna has died at the age of 49 after battling cancer, the WTA announced Monday.

"It is with deep sadness that the WTA announces the passing on Sunday of Jana Novotna, the former WTA World No. 1 doubles and No. 2 singles champion. After a long battle with cancer, Jana died peacefully, surrounded by her family in her native Czech Republic, aged 49," the WTA posted on its website.

Novotna won 24 WTA singles titles in 14 years on the professional women's circuit, along with 76 doubles titles. Having reached the Wimbledon singles final twice previously (1993, 1997), she defeated Frenchwoman Nathalie Tauziat to win the title in 1998. She also won the WTA Finals in 1997.

Novotna won 17 total Grand Slam titles, including 12 in doubles and four in mixed doubles. She was a three-time Olympic medalist and a member of her country's victorious Fed Cup championship team in 1988.

Novotna, who retired in 1999, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.

"Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her," WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement. "Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA. Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana's family."

Tennis stars took to Twitter to pay their tributes.

Martina Navratilova: "The tennis world is so sad about the passing of Jana Novotna...I am gutted and beyond words- Jana was a true friend and an amazing woman."

Chris Evert: "A sad loss to the tennis world, but a devastating loss to those of us who shared a deep friendship with her...a woman with integrity and honor. RIP Jana."

Pam Shriver: "Jana was as kind as she was athletic, as smart as she was competive. I can't believe she is gone this soon. Her smile lives forever young."

Updated November 20, 2017

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