Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe is currently fighting a serious infection after undergoing shoulder surgery. There are fears that the 31-year-old may lose the use of his left arm.
Nicknamed "Thorpedo", the freestyle expert dominated the pool in the early part of the previous decade, winning a total of five Olympic golds and breaking a series of records in his glittering career.
Here are five of Thorpe's greatest sporting moments.
1) Aged 15, Ian Thorpe gave the world its first glimpse of his prowess in the pool. The gangly teenager out-touched team-mate Grant Hackett, 17, to claim the 400m freestyle title (4.46.29) at the 1998 World Championships in Perth to become the youngest individual world champion.
2) Faced with fanatical home support at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Thorpe struck gold on three separate occasions, including a world record time of 3.40.59 in the 400m freestyle. He also took home two silver medals at sport's biggest showpiece for good measure.
3) The records kept tumbling for the amazing Australian. Thorpe became the first person to win six gold medals at the 2001 World Aquatic Championships in Fukuoka. The Aussies' 4x200m freestyle relay team of Thorpe, Hackett, Michael Klim and Bill Kirby also set another world record (7.04.66), shaving more than 2.5 seconds of their winning time from the 2000 Olympics.
4) There were more bursts from the 'Thorpedo' in Fukuoka. In the 200m freestyle, the 18-year-old stunned in-form Dutchman Pieter Van Den Hoogenband in a blistering time of 1.44.06, lowering his own world record by 0.63s. The record held for six years before the next swim king Michael Phelps lowered it at the 2007 World Championships.
5) The Thorpe world tour continued on to Manchester, where yet another world record tumbled at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The Aussie's mark of 3.40.08 in the 400m freestyle took seven whole years to be bettered, by German Paul Biedermann.