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Ballesteros has complication after surgery for brain tumor

MADRID, Spain - Seve Ballesteros developed a complication following brain tumor surgery, requiring doctors to remove a piece of the golf star's skull to relieve pressure.

The 51-year-old Spaniard was stable but still in intensive care, La Paz Hospital said Thursday.

A sizable part of the tumor was taken out Tuesday, although it was not yet known if it was malignant. The hospital said Ballesteros had presented a 'decreased level of consciousness by brain swelling.'

Part of the skull was removed - a procedure known as decompressive craniotomy - to allow room for a swelling brain to expand. Doctors say it is not uncommon after such operations.

Ballesteros, who won three British Opens and two Masters, briefly lost consciousness and on Oct. 6 was admitted to the hospital, where the tumor was discovered. On Sunday, he said he faced the 'hardest challenge of my life.'

Top-ranked tennis player Rafael Nadal said he's been in contact with Ballesteros' family this week.

'He has proved to be a very strong man all his life,' Nadal said at the Madrid Masters. 'We know he is one of the great Spanish sportsmen. He was the best Spanish golfer ever, so I just want to send him all my support and strength.'