Former snooker star Willie Thorne dead at the age of 66

Former snooker star Willie Thorne has died at the age of 66 after a short battle with illness.

A message on Thorne’s GoFundMe page read: “It is with a very heavy and broken heart that I have to officially announce that at 1.55am this morning Willie Thorne lost his battle and passed away.”

Thorne, who announced he was battling leukaemia in March, had been placed into an induced coma in hospital in Spain over the weekend after suffering respiratory failure.

He reached two World Championship quarter-finals and won his only ranking title, the Mercantile Credit Classic, in 1982.

He later commentated on the sport for the BBC, and appeared on the fifth series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The message, written by Thorne’s carer Julie O’Neill, continued: “Willie went into septic shock and was not responding to any treatment so the decision was made by the hospital to turn off the machines.

“I was with him all the way to his end and reading out messages to him from people.

“He passed away very peacefully and without pain listening to his children saying they love him – that gives me some comfort in this difficult time.”

Thorne’s friend Gary Lineker was among the first to pay tribute, tweeting: “Deeply, deeply saddened to hear that my friend Willie Thorne has passed away. One of life’s great characters. A marvellous snooker player and a lovely man, who’s potted his final black much too soon. RIP Willie.”

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