“Heath has cancer and is undergoing treatment under one of the most respected oncologists in South Africa,” his family said in a statement. “He remains in good spirits and will continue to fight this disease in a similar vein to that which his opponents faced during his revered days on the cricket field.
“The family hopes that you understand and respect their wish for this to remain a private family matter, and thank you for your prayers and good wishes. There will be no further official statements regarding his health at this time. Any news that becomes public should be regarded as rumour.”
Streak, now 49, was a major figure in Zimbabwe cricket through the best part of the 1990s and early 2000s, when they enjoyed their most successful run in international cricket. He represented Zimbabwe in 65 Tests and 189 ODIs between 1993 and 2005, finishing with 1990 runs and 216 wickets in Tests, and 2943 runs and 239 wickets in ODIs.
Streak is still the only Zimbabwe bowler with more than 100 Test wickets and over 200 ODI wickets. He captained Zimbabwe in the 2000s, during a difficult period when a number of players withdrew from the national side as relations between the board and team hit rock bottom.
After his career as a player ended, Streak took up coaching roles with various teams. He served as bowling coach of Bangladesh, Kolkata Knight Riders and Somerset, in addition to having multiple stints in Zimbabwe cricket.