'Lost a much-loved son and brother'

Australian skipper Michael Clarke, friend and mentor of Hughes, reads out death statement for family

'Lost a much-loved son and brother'

Long called upon to rescue his team from treacherous situations, Australia captain Michael Clarke could do little to save his close friend Phillip Hughes, but bore his grief quietly in a vital supporting role for his "little brother's" family.

Clarke was among the first to arrive at St Vincent's hospital on Tuesday after Hughes was rushed there with a sickening head injury and read the family's statement upon his death, three days before his 26th birthday.

In between, the 33-year-old was rarely away from the bedside of the player he mentored and ushered into New South Wales and later the national team.

TV footage showed Clarke walking briskly through the Sydney hospital's doors early every morning and trudging out despondent much later in the day.

Unshaven, with rings under his eyes, Clarke's head was bowed as he read the family statement, his voice clear if a little gravelly.

"This statement is on behalf of Greg, Virginia, Jason and Megan Hughes. We're devastated by the loss of our much loved son and brother Phillip. It's been a very difficult few days, we appreciate all the support we've received from family, friends, players, Cricket Austrlaia, and the general public. Cricket was Phillip's life and we as a family shared that love of the game with him. We would like to thank all the medical and nursing staff at St Vincent's Hospital and Cricket NSW medical staff for their great efforts with Phillip. We love you,” read out Clarke.

He didn't trip on a single word but after reading the final phrase -- "we love you" -- he exited quickly, overcome."Phillip has always been a little brother to Michael," team doctor Peter Brukner said, his voice quivering with emotion.

"Michael's efforts over the last 48 hours to support the family -- the family was obviously going through a difficult time -- but I'm not sure they would have coped without Michael's assistance.

"I was just enormously impressed at the work he did and the genuine care and love he gave to the Hughes family."

Clarke spent time consoling the other party to the tragedy, all-rounder Sean Abbott, whose ball reared up and ruptured an artery, causing a rush of blood to Hughes' brain that ultimately proved fatal.

"When he came to the hospital yesterday, Michael Clarke came down and spent a significant amount of time with (Abbott)," Brukner added.

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