"The word tragedy gets used far too often in sport but this freak accident is now a real-life tragedy. Just shy of his 26th birthday, Phillip has been taken from us far too young," Sutherland said.

"It's an understatement to say that we are completely devastated. Our grief runs deep and the impact of Phillip's loss is enormous but nothing compares to the loss felt by those closest to him.

"Phillip was a cherished son, brother, friend and team mate.

"In these darkest of hours cricket puts its collective arms around the Hughes family. To his parents Virginia and Greg and siblings Megan and Jason we offer our love and endless support," he said.

Hughes, 25, died at the St Vincent's Hospital here, where he was battling for life after being hit on the head by a bouncer from Sean Abbot during a domestic match between New South Wales and South Australia on Tuesday.

"Hughesy, Huey or Hue-Dog as he was known to many of his mates was much-loved. You only have to sift through the thousands of messages of support, prayers and well wishes for Phillip from cricketers and supporters the world over to understand the affection felt towards him," Sutherland said.

"He will forever be remembered as one of the elite few to have worn the Baggy Green cap – cap 408 to be precise. He was a hero to kids around the nation, particularly those in the region around his home town of Macksville in New South Wales that he did so proud in his 26 Test matches – a tally that looked certain to grow, but now sadly never will," he said.
 
Sutherland said: "The National Selectors had certainly identified him as having a long-term future in the game. It was only a few days ago when announcing the first Test team for the forthcoming Indian series that National Selector Rod Marsh said, 'He's a helluva good batsman. He is a very, very good young player who has got 26 first-class hundreds.'

"We all vividly remember his explosive entrance to Test cricket. In 2009, in only his second Test and at the tender age of 20, Phillip blasted back-to-back centuries against South Africa and only last year showed his class again when he became the first Australian batsman in the history of ODI cricket to score a century on debut."

"But it was Phillip as a person that we will miss most. He was a classic example of his country upbringing humble, understated and hard working. When the chips were down or he had a setback he simply got on with the job and worked harder. He set a wonderful example to any young person seeking to make their way in life," he said.

The incident had left the New South Wales and South Australia sides traumatised and they were being offered counselling.

Sutherland also offered his sympathies to the New South Wales and South Australian cricketers.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to send our deepest sympathies to Phillip's teammates at national, state and grade level as well as the wider New South Wales and South Australian cricket communities," he said.

"I would also like to pay tribute to the Phillip's teammates and opponents, the Australian cricket's medical staff and those at St Vincent's hospital in Sydney for the care they showed him. And as I said earlier our hearts go out to the Hughes family right now. Phillip Joel Hughes played 26 Test matches for his country. He will be sadly missed and forever remembered," Sutherland added.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott also paid rich tributes to Hughes.

"Phillip Hughes was a young man living out his dreams. His death is a very sad day for cricket and a heartbreaking day for his family," he said.

"What happened has touched millions of Australians. For a young life to be cut short playing our national game seems a shocking aberration," Abbott said.

John Warn, Cricket New South Wales chairman added: "The entire NSW cricket community offers our heartfelt condolences to Phillip's mother and father Virginia and Greg, sister Megan and brother Jason at this most difficult of times.

"Their grief is being felt across the country and around the cricket world as the extended cricket family comes to terms with the sad loss of a very popular and talented young player," he said.

"Phillip touched so many people playing for NSW, Australia, South Australia, county cricket in England and the IPL in India. A lovable, quiet and affectionate young man from the farming community of Macksville, Phillip has left an indelible impression on the game as a player and a person.

It is tragic that Phillip has been taken from them so young. He reflected their strong country values and warmth as a loving, caring family.

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