European Ryder Cup hero Christy O'Connor Jnr has died at the age of 67.

The Irishman passed away in his sleep during a holiday in Tenerife, it was announced on Wednesday.

O'Connor played a key role in ensuring Europe secured a 14-14 draw with the United States to retain the Ryder Cup in 1989, famously hitting an approach shot to just four feet from the pin at the 18th hole at the Belfry

He also featured in the 1975 Ryder Cup, a place he secured by lifting the Irish Open in the same year – one of his four Tour titles.

"It is a very sad day for the O'Connor family and for Ireland as a whole," said George O’Grady, former chief executive of the European Tour.

"Christy Jnr was a legendary figure and his immense legacy is far more than purely his playing record.

"He was a universally popular player and always enhanced every tournament he played, no matter the occasion. His infectious charm will be sorely missed."

Compatriot Shane Lowry also paid tribute to O'Connor, labelling him an "absolute legend".

"Very sad news today about Christy O'Connor Jnr," he posted on Twitter. "An absolute legend of Irish golf. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones."