WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand cricket great Richard Hadlee has undergone surgery for bowel cancer, his family said in a statement Wednesday.

The illness was diagnosed last month when Hadlee, 66, had a routine colonoscopy. A tumor was discovered which has since been removed and Hadlee is expected to make a full recovery.

However, he will undergo chemotherapy for the next few months to make sure the cancer does not return, his wife Dianne Hadlee said.

"Our reasons for making this statement are a desire to be transparent, and to prevent the inevitable speculation and incorrect rumors," Lady Dianne said. "I would also request people's understanding and acceptance of our request for privacy while we go through the next few months, both for ourselves and for the extended Hadlee family."

Hadlee, regarded as one of the best allrounders of all time, took 431 wickets and scored 3,124 runs in an 86 test career. He was the first player to reach the 400 wicket mark.