Snooker legend Willie Thorne passes away aged 66

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Willie Thorne has died after suffering respiratory failure aged 66, his family has announced.

The twice World Snooker Championship quarter-finalist was taken to Torrevieja Hospital in Spain last week with low blood pressure after being diagnosed with leukaemia in March.

He was taken to intensive care following his admission and was placed into a medically induced coma, with ventilation, on Sunday.

However, after going into septic shock and not responding to treatment, Thorne’s family made the heart-breaking decision to turn off the machines.

Close friend and carer Julie O’Neil broke the news on Thorne’s GoFundMe page, expressing her gratitude to fans for the support the Thorne family have received.

“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.

“Thank you so very much to everyone that has been involved in Willie’s care, you have all been absolutely amazing and Willie couldn’t have asked for better. Thank you for all the donations that enabled him to get the care he needed! This will now pay for his funeral,” she added.

Current world number two Neil Robertson paid tribute to Thorne on social media, commenting: “So sad to hear about the passing of Willie Thorne last night. One of the game’s great characters and will be missed greatly. RIP.”

After making his debut in 1975, Thorne went on to become a household name in the sport; peaking at a career high seventh in the world rankings and winning the 1985 Mercantile Credit Classic.

Thorne famously lost the 1985 UK Championship final after a remarkable comeback victory from Steve Davis and would go on to become a popular pundit on BBC’s snooker coverage.

Fondly remembered for his antics away from the snooker table, Leicester-born Mr Maximum starred on Chas & Dave’s 1986 comedy hit ‘Snooker Loopy’ and featured on ITV's 2019 reincarnation of The Full Monty.

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