Former New Zealand cricket captain Martin Crowe has died aged 53 after a long battle with cancer.

"It is with heavy hearts that the family of Martin Crowe, MBE advise his death," read a family statement.

"Diagnosed in September 2014 with terminal double-hit lymphoma, he passed away peacefully today, Thursday, March 3, in Auckland surrounded by family." The statement was headed 'God Speed. Rest in Peace'.

Widely regarded as New Zealand's finest batsman, Crowe played 77 Tests between 1982 and 1995, scoring 5,444 runs at an average of 45.36.

The elegant right-hander also scored 4,704 runs at an average of 38.55 in one-day internationals. In a first-class career of 247 matches he scored 71 centuries and 19,608 runs.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White paid tribute to Crowe's contribution to the game.

"It's incredibly sad and hard to believe he has been taken from us so early," White said. "Our hearts go out to his family and close friends.

"Over the next few days and weeks we will celebrate his life and outstanding contribution to New Zealand and world cricket."

Tributes for the Auckland-born right-hander also came in on social media site Twitter shortly after his death had been announced in New Zealand.

Crowe in action for New Zealand at The Oval in 1983

Former New Zealand Test captain Stephen Fleming wrote: "Very sad to hear of the passing of Martin Crowe this morning. An inspiration to me and so many others. One of our true greats. RIP hogan."

While Fleming's team-mate Scott Styris wrote: "So sad to hear news of Martin Crowe passing away. For those of us who grew up watching cricket in the 80s, we owe him immensely."

Cricket Wellington, one of the three first-class teams Crowe played for in New Zealand, described him as "a genius, true legend of the game".

Crowe's funeral will be held in Auckland on March 11.