SNOOKER legend Willie Thorne has early this morning died surrounded by his family at Torrevieja’s Hospital Universitario.
The 66-year-old Leicester-born star announced he was being treated for leukaemia back in March, before suffering a septic shock that left him motionless and unable to feed himself.
He had also recently been hospitalised with gout in his left leg that left him unable to walk.
The snooker player turned TV commentator was yesterday placed into an induced coma in a Spanish hospital after suffering from respiratory failure.
He latterly lived in a Villamartin apartment on the Orihuela Costa, acting as an MC for guest speakers such as Paul Gascoigne, as well as fronting various sporting charity events.
Thorne worked on BBC TV’s snooker coverage for many years until the 2017-2018 season when he was dropped.
His peak as a player was in the mid-eighties when he reached number seven in the world rankings, at a time when Steve Davis dominated the sport.
Off the table, he had a well-documented addiction to gambling and admitted to racking up £1 million of debt, which led to his bankruptcy.
His carer, Julie O’Neill, launched a GoFundMe page to pay for Thorne´s leukaemia treatment, and as of Tuesday (June 16), it had raised over £17,000. This included £1,000 from longtime friend and fellow Leicester son Gary Lineker.
A statement from his carer 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.
“Over here in Spain everything happens very quickly so today myself and his family will he making plans and will inform you accordingly.
“It disappoints me some what that people were tweeting he has passed away when he was still holding on and with us. I guess that’s celebrity life…
“Thank you so very much to everyone that has been involved in Willie’s care you have all been absolutely amazing and Willie couldn’t have asked for better.
“Thank you for all the donations that enabled him to get the care he needed!
“This will now pay for his funeral.
“Thank you for all the well wishes and beautiful messages of support xxx”