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Golfer Kathy Ahern Dies Following Battle With Breast Cancer

July 8, 1996

PHOENIX (AP) _ Former LPGA player Kathy Ahern, who won the tour’s title event 24 years ago, has died following a five-year battle with breast cancer. She was 47.

Ahern died Saturday at her mother’s home in Fountain Hills, Ariz. She traveled to Phoenix after learning in June that her liver was not functioning properly because of the cancer, which had spread throughout her body.

Ahern joined the tour in 1967, and won three championships in the early 1970s, including the 1972 LPGA Championship.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 1991 and underwent a lumpectomy and radiation treatment. She returned to the tour later that fall and competed in eight events.

Ahern’s playing career ended that year although she often went on the tour, caddying for a friend or assisting other players with their golf games.

In early 1993, doctors found the cancer had metastasized in Ahern’s spine and she went to Mexico for additional treatment. Later that year, doctors at Duke University found the cancer had spread to her head, bones, hip and possibly her lungs.

Ahern made her last visit to an LPGA tournament in June, before she learned her liver was not working.

``Kathy’s courage and determination in the fact of her illness is an inspiration to us all. She was never deterred from showing her love of the LPGA, her family and friends while she was making a lasting impact on the lives of many,″ LPGA Commissioner Jim Ritts said in a statement.

A private memorial for Ahern was scheduled for Thursday in Phoenix.

She is survived by her mother and sisters.

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