World Seniors Championship - Live Stream

18+ | Geo restrictions may apply | Be Gamble Aware

New Zealand snooker icon Dene O’Kane passes away

Jamie Shaw in Snooker News

Left arrow

WST announce Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters as “fourth major”

Dene O’Kane (1963-2024)

New Zealand’s all-time greatest snooker player Dene O’Kane has passed away at the age of 61.

Reports in New Zealand confirmed O’Kane passed away in hospital on Tuesday after suffering a fall at his home on Waiheke Island earlier this week.

O’Kane won the 1980 New Zealand Amateur Championship and turned professional in 1984, reaching a maiden ranking final at the 1989 Hong Kong Open – where finished runner-up to Mike Hallett.

He made his World Championship debut at The Crucible in 1985 and reached the quarter-finals in 1987 and 1992, losing out to Joe Johnson and Stephen Hendry respectively.

O’Kane reached a career-high ranking of 18 during the 1991/92 season and remained in the top 32 until the 1996/97 campaign.

After retiring from professional competition, O’Kane began a career in real estate before returning to televised action at the World Seniors Championship in 2011.

O’Kane was renowned for wearing a glove on his bridge hand whilst playing and was a popular character among his fellow professionals., many of whom have paid tribute on social media.

Alfie Burden wrote: ‘To say I’m devastated to see the news this morning that one of my great friends within snooker Dene O’Kane has passed away in an understatement.

‘Dene was an unbelievable guy a unique character somebody I will never forget, I spent hours and hours practicing with him as a young player he didn’t need to give me his time he was a top 16/ top 32 player but he did and I learned an awful lot off him.

‘Away from snooker he was such great company a real one off we had many great times together alongside my father at numerous tournaments where we shared meals and good times.

‘Snooker has lost a great guy and a great competitor. I nicknamed Dene ‘O ‘ The Great One’. RIP The Great One.’

Former world number three Neal Foulds tweeted: ‘I’m waking up to the awfully sad news of the passing of Dene O’Kane. One of the good guys. When he came over from NZ in 1980 for Junior Pot Black he was immediately different from the rest of us in a good way. Always had a touch of class about him. Rest in peace Deno.’

Martin O’Donnell added: ‘Sad to hear of the passing of Dene O’Kane, met him a few times and he was a lovely man! RIP.’