The world of snooker has paid tribute to legendary player and commentator Willie Thorne, who has passed away at the age of 66.
Thorne, who recently moved to Spain, was diagnosed with leukaemia in March and was taken to hospital last week with dangerously low blood pressure.
It was revealed on Tuesday that he had been placed into an induced coma after suffering respiratory failure.
The following morning, a message from his carer on the GoFundMe page set up to help pay for his treatment, 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.
“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 was a former ranking event winner who reached a career-high ranking of world number seven in the 80s and 90s.
Renowned for his fluent break-building, Thorne compiled 126 competitive century breaks, including a 147 in the 1987 UK Championship, acquiring the nickname ‘Mr Maximum’.
He retired from professional snooker in 2001 but made several subsequent appearances in World Seniors events and became an established television commentator, primarily for the BBC.
Snooker stars past and present, as well as other famous faces from the world of sport, have taken to social media to pay their respects and share their memories of Willie.
Lost my friend today, hard to think I won’t see him again. Gutted. RIP Willie.
— John Virgo (@jvofficialjv) June 17, 2020
Devestating news about Willie Thorne. We laughed our way around the world for 45 years.
RIP Great One. That was my name for him. The Great WT.
Lots of love to his family
— Dennis Taylor (@dennistaylor147) June 17, 2020
😢 I Hope you had a lovely time on the planet Willie and any regrets were overshadowed by the fun and games you had and the smiles you put on other people’s faces xxx
— Steve Davis (@SteveSnooker) June 17, 2020
Just want to say what a beautiful man, big heart great company. Had a week in ireland with him I’ll never forget. Will be missed by a lot of people in the Snooker world. RIP WT pic.twitter.com/fZoC18skqZ
— Ronnie O'Sullivan (@ronnieo147) June 17, 2020
Very sad news today,Willie was one of my favourite people in snooker.
I know he had faults and weaknesses(we all do) but he was one of the games greatest ever characters,I’ll miss him ☹️
— stephen hendry (@SHendry775) June 17, 2020
Taken at the reopening of the Riverside Snooker Club in Market Harborough around 1993/4. We were friends from that night until this morning. Rest now mate 💔 https://t.co/2bde0HjSd1
— Shaun Murphy (@Magician147) June 17, 2020
So sad to hear about the passing of Willie Thorne last night. One of the games great characters and will be missed greatly😢 RIP
— Neil Robertson🌱 (@nr147) June 17, 2020
Rest in peace Willie Thorne. Some great memories going back over 40 years. Very sad day for snooker and my thoughts are with his family.
— Neal Foulds (@fouldsy147) June 17, 2020
Devastated to hear the news that the great WT is no longer with us! 😥😥RIP Willie 😥
— Joe Perry (@joegentlemanjoe) June 17, 2020
Rest in peace Mr Maximum man x pic.twitter.com/hJi5MGkRq6
— Jimmy White MBE (@jimmywhite147) June 17, 2020
Gutted to see the news about Wille Thorne, was only in feb seeing him and chatting to him in Cardiff at the welsh open, how quick life changes! Rip WT you’ll be sadly missed
— Kyren Wilson (@KyrenWilson) June 17, 2020
This is very sad news, indeed. Willie was always kind, loved life, loved Snooker and was a good man. His natural talent and renowned break building skills, enabled him to be at the top of the game, for many, many years. He will be greatly missed, by everyone who knew him. https://t.co/AZByb6iK2B
— Peter Ebdon (@pdebdon) June 17, 2020
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.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 17, 2020
So sorry to hear of the death of Willie Thorne. Spent lots of time with him in Sheffield, and came back with so many funny, but unrepeatable stories. RIP.
— Richard Osman (@richardosman) June 17, 2020
Sad to hear that Willie Thorne has passed away, was with him just before the lockdown he was in great form.. thoughts and condolences are with the Thorne family. RIP Willie 🙏🏻
— John Hartson (@JohnHartson10) June 17, 2020
To wake to the news of the death of Willie Thorne today is simply terrible. I spent many many hours with him. He was a charming man, great company, a brilliant player and commentator and , of course, always immaculately turned out. He has gone far too soon.
— Jeff Stelling (@JeffStelling) June 17, 2020
Gutted to hear that snooker legend Willie Thorne has passed away. A real character who, when in his company, had that gift of being able to light up the room. RIP Willie
— Chris Kamara (@chris_kammy) June 17, 2020