TORONTO - Rene Simpson, a former player, coach and longtime captain of Canada's Fed Cup tennis team, has died. She was 47.
Simpson died Thursday in Chicago after a year-long battle with brain cancer, Tennis Canada said in a statement.
"We are extremely saddened and carry a heavy heart by the news of Rene's passing," said Hatem McDadi, Tennis Canada's vice-president of tennis development. "We have lost a very dear friend and member of our tennis family. Rene will be remembered for her courage, patriotic spirit, warmth and loyalty to friends and family. She has been an inspiration and a role model to friends, family and our current generation of female tennis players.
"Rene is dearly loved and will be missed. We extend our deepest condolences to Rene's family and friends including her husband Jason Collins, her parents Burt and Jane and her sisters Carol and Anne. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time."
As a player, Simpson reached a career high of No. 70 in April 1989 and advanced to the third round at the French Open that year. In doubles, she was ranked as high as No. 32, won three titles and was a US Open quarter-finalist.
Simpson was a regular player on Canada's Fed Cup team in the 1990s and recorded a 20-16 record in tournament play. She served as team captain from 2001 to 2009 and guided Canada to a World Group II berth in 2007.
Simpson, who was inducted into the Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011, will be honoured by Tennis Canada during the upcoming World Group II first-round tie Feb. 8-9 against visiting Serbia.
Memorial services will be held in both Chicago and Toronto. No dates have been announced.