Snooker stars pay tribute to legendary Willie Thorne

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John Virgo pays emotional tribute to Willie Thorne

Thorne was a stalwart of the game for over three decades

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.