Kathy Whitworth – the professional golfer with the most trophies – has died aged 83, America’s Ladies Professional Golf Association has said.
“Her 88 LPGA victories are the most ever on a professional tour,” it said.
The Texan took six more trophies than her rival Mary Kathryn “Mickey” Wright, as well as men’s game joint record-holders Sam Snead and Tiger Woods.
She died suddenly on Saturday night while celebrating Christmas Eve with family and friends, her partner said.
“Kathy left this world the way she lived her life, loving, laughing and creating memories,” said Bettye Odle without providing any further details.
Whitworth won six majors during her decades-long career, and came very close, being a runner-up in 1971, to winning the US Women’s Open – the most prestigious trophy.
In 1981, she became the first woman to earn $1m (£829,000) on the LPGA tour.
“I would have swapped being the first to make a million for winning the Open, but it was a consolation which took some of the sting out of not winning,” she said at the time.
Her last professional title was in 1985 – 23 years after she triumphed for the first time.
Paying tributes, LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said Whitworth was “one of the most incredible women”.
“Kathy was a champion in the truest sense of the word, both on the golf course and off,” she said in a statement.