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Former New Zealand cricket all-rounder Chris Cairns is on life support at a Canberra hospital after recently collapsing with a health problem in Australia, New Zealand media reported on Tuesday.

Cairns, 51, had undergone several operations after suffering a heart problem but had not responded to treatment as hoped, Newshub reported.

Newshub said Cairns had suffered an aortic dissection in his heart in Canberra last week. An aortic dissection is a tear in the body's main artery.

New Zealand's players' union was unable to provide immediate comment.

A New Zealand Cricket spokesman said the board was respecting Cairns' right to privacy and declined to comment on the situation.

Cairns played 62 tests, 215 one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches for New Zealand between 1989-2006 before becoming a television pundit.

Cairns was one of the best all-rounders of his era, especially in the shorter formats. His father Lance also represented New Zealand in cricket.

Cairns was later the subject of allegations of matchfixing in India as captain of the Chandigarh Lions in the defunct Indian Cricket League in 2008.

He denied any wrongdoing and fought several legal battles to clear his name. 

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