Ping-pong diplomat's battle with cancer worsens

Updated: 2012-09-17 17:32


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A Chinese table tennis great is in a serious condition with colorectal cancer, according to multiple media sources.

A Xinhua reporter, Tang Shizeng, published a photo on his Sina Weibo of the 72-year-old Zhuang Zedong at a Beijing hospital ward on Sunday, with his wife at his bedside.

Ping-pong diplomat's battle with cancer worsens

Zhuang Zedong receives an intravenous infusion at a Beijing hospital on Sunday. [Photo/Tang Shizeng]

"Zhuang's condition grew worse suddenly in July. The hospitals he used to live in in Beijing and Shanghai have all turned down his hospitalization request. He suffers 7/8 liver necrosis, and barely survives with a vein and a bile duct," wrote Tang.

Zhuang Zedong is a three-time world men's singles champion, winning a horde of table tennis events in the 1960s. His chance meeting with a US table tennis player, Glenn Cowan, during the 31st World Table Tennis Championships in 1971, later referred to as Ping-pong Diplomacy, was deemed to have led to the thawing of the icy China-US relations since 1949. He married his second wife, Chinese-born Japanese Sasaki Atsuko, in 1985.

In August 2008, Zhuang was diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer, with complications in his liver and lungs.

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