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Tributes paid to snooker legend Alex Higgins

Alex Higgins

Tributes have been paid to former world snooker champion Alex Higgins who died on Saturday aged 61 after a long battle against throat cancer.

The Belfast man had long-term problems with alcohol and smoking since winning the world title in 1972 and 1982.

But he still remained one of the most iconic figures in the sport.

Some of those who knew him best remember the man known as the Hurricane.

WORLD CHAMPION DENNIS TAYLOR

"There was just something about the way that he played the game. There was a little bit of [John] McEnroe in there. There was always going to be a little bit of controversy.

"If he could get the referee going a little bit he seemed to be able to play better, if the caused a little bit of havoc sometimes.

"But that was Alex. That made him unique and I don't think you'll ever, ever see a player like in the game of snooker like the great Alex Higgins."

SIX-TIME WORLD CHAMPION STEVE DAVIS

"To people in the game he was a constant source of argument, he was a rebel. But to the wider public he was a breath of fresh air that drew them in to the game.

"He was an inspiration to my generation to take the game up. I do not think his contribution to snooker can be underestimated.

"He was quite a fierce competitor, he lived and breathed the game, very much a fighter on the table."

FORMER PLAYER WILLIE THORNE

"We just remember the games when he played, everybody wanted to watch, he was exciting, nobody knew what would happen, it was dangerous. It's a sad loss.

"They say every genius is bordering on mad and Alex was certainly that. You never knew if he would jump into the crowd or hit the referee or walk out or what he would do.

"But he was also a fantastic cue man and played some great stuff. He created shots that everybody now copies.

"To have only won the world title twice didn't do justice to his talent. He could have won it many more times."

SNOOKER PROMOTER BARRY HEARN

"I have known him for nearly 40 years. He was the major reason for snooker's popularity in the early days.

"He was controversial at times, but he always played the game in the right spirit.

"We will miss him - he was the original people's champion."



24th July 2010, 21:19
 
Page updated 24th Jul 2010, 21:19
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