Talented and fit young cricketer David Smyth died just six days after being told he had cancer.
This week his teammates at Stainsby Hall Cricket Club in Smalley have told of their devastation.
The 28-year-old South African all-rounder had only been married for six months.
A personal trainer, he was described by a colleague as one of the best cricketers to ever have played for the village team.
Stainsby Hall committee member John Wood said this week that David’s family and friends were struggling to come to terms with the loss.
He said: “We’re in a state of total shock and disbelief. He was the fittest man in the world, he never drunk, never smoked, he was a massive fitness fanatic.
“You just can’t believe something like that can happen to someone so healthy.”
He had complained of feeling dizzy and was taken to hospital, where doctors discovered he had cancer in his liver, brain and lungs. Sadly he died on Friday.
David, of Alvaston, leaves behind wife Megan, who is planning to run the Darley Park Race for Life next month in his memory.
He had previously played for the CBC Old Boys and attended Grey College in Bloemfontein.
David moved to Britain in 2007 to find a cricket club to play for and joined Stainsby Hall.
The cricketer, as talented with the bat as he was with the ball, scored 2,909 runs during his time at the Smalley club and in his last game posted 74 not out for a win over Aston-on-Trent in the first round of the Marston’s Smooth Trophy.
His brother Matt, who also plays for Stainsby Hall, said David regularly turned down offers from county Premier League clubs because of loyalty to his team.
He said: “David was always humorous, always liked to have fun and with me being his younger brother he was protective of me.
“He was a great fighter and although he was big, he was never a bully and he was fiercely competitive.”