Popular snooker player and commentator Willie Thorne has sadly passed away at the age of 66 after a short battle with leukaemia.
Thorne had been in hospital in Spain, where he suffered respiratory failure. His carer, Julie O’Neill, wrote on a gofundme page set up for Willie on Wednesday: “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.”
Willie was one of the game’s most engaging personalities, Known on the snooker circuit as ‘Mr. Maximum’ hehelped amplify snooker’s appeal to the masses during its heyday. He also had an amazing ability to construct 147 breaks at the table.
He won the Mercantile Credit Classic in 1985 and reached two World Championship quarter-finals in 1982 and 1986 before moving to the commentary box.
Tributes have been pouring in online
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
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
So sad to hear about the death of Willie Thorne. I loved watching his career, we made friends on Strictly Come Dancing where he was the loveliest ‘team mate’. 💙 pic.twitter.com/0Na5NXVywA
— Gabby Logan (@GabbyLogan) June 17, 2020
We are deeply saddened to hear that the Great WT himself, Willie Thorne, has passed away at the age of 66. It's a great loss to our sport.
Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.
RIP Williehttps://t.co/dQYOen9L3Q pic.twitter.com/Kj57meHU5g
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) June 17, 2020