09/06/2018 14:01 BST

Maria Bueno, Brazilian Tennis Star, Dies Aged 78 Following Cancer Fight

Bueno was known as 'The Tennis Ballerina' because of her graceful style.

Reuters Photographer / Reuters
Brazilian tennis star, Maria Bueno, has died aged 78; she is picture above during an exhibition match in Bahia in 2004

Brazilian tennis player Maria Bueno, who won three Wimbledon singles titles, has died aged 78 following a battle with mouth cancer. 

Bueno died at Sao Paulo hospital on Tuesday, but news of her death was not confirmed until Friday night. 

Nicknamed “The Tennis Ballerina” because of her graceful style, Bueno won seven grand slam titles in the 1950s and 1960s and was South America’s most successful player.

Bueno shot to global fame when she claimed her maiden grand slam at Wimbledon in 1959 and her second at the US Nationals two months later.

She successfully defended her Wimbledon crown the following year and claimed back-to-back US Nationals titles in 1963-64.

Bueno also reached the final of the 1964 French Championships and the 1965 Australian Championships but lost to Margaret Court at Roland Garros and retired hurt against the Australian great at Kooyong.

PA Archive/PA Images
Bueno holds aloft the Wimbledon trophy for the third time after her women's singles win

Bueno was also a prolific doubles player, claiming women’s titles at all four of the grand slams from 1958-68 and a mixed doubles championship at Roland Garros in 1960.

The Nove de Julho hospital confirmed Bueno’s death on Friday and said she had been admitted for “oncological treatment”.

Brazilian President Michel Temer has led tributes to the star, tweeting that she would be remembered as “the number one of tennis in the hearts of all Brazilians”.