View Full Version : Snooker star Paul Hunter dies

10-09-2006, 04:47 PM
I'm guessing snooker is about as well known in the States as Dutch singer Jan Smit, but I just have to do *something* with this news. The loss of Paul Hunter is, to the game of snooker and it's fans, simply devastating. He was a wonderful talent, a smart, funny and very, very talented player who, like too many people, was robbed of his best years by cancer. I absolutely love the game of snooker, and always, always liked and , as a former player of the game, admired Paul Hunter for his determination and style. This news literally brings tears to my eyes.

Hunter loses battle with cancer

Paul Hunter has died at the age of 27 after a battle with cancer.

The Leeds player was taken into the Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield last Friday and died on Monday evening.

The three-time Masters champion was diagnosed with dozens of neuro endocrine tumours on the lining of his stomach in March 2005. Hunter would have been 28 on Saturday. He leaves a wife, Lindsey, and a daughter, Evie Rose, who was born on Boxing Day of last year.

Former world champion John Parrott was among the first to pay tribute. "Paul certainly brought a touch of glamour to the game - they called him 'the Beckham of the baize'," Parrott told BBC Five Live. "And his performances at Wembley were fantastic. To win three titles was tremendous. He was a happy-go-lucky man, always played with a smile on his face and never had a bad word to say about anyone."

Stephen Hendry, the seven-times world champion, added: "I'm absolutely devastated by the news. "He's got a young family and he had a fantastic future in front of him. It's everyone's worst nightmare and puts everything into perspective."

Willie Thorne, a BBC commentator and former professional, said: "Deep down I think we all thought he was going to beat the disease. "He was one of the best-looking snooker players we ever had and had a heart like a lion.

"He lit up the stage when he played, was a very flamboyant player and there will be a big hole in everybody's hearts for the next year or so."

And World Snooker chairman Sir Rodney Walker added: "Paul was a man who had everything going for him - an outstanding talent, good looks, fame, riches, charm and a beautiful wife. "This shows us just how quickly life can change. It's a bitter blow for snooker, but most importantly for his family, and our thoughts are with them."

Hunter turned professional at the age of 16 in 1995 and won his first major title, the 1998 Welsh Open, at the age of 19. He also won the Welsh title in 2002 and picked up the British Open trophy the same year.

But he will be best remembered for his exploits at Wembley. Hunter recovered from 7-3 down to beat Fergal O'Brien 10-9 in the 2001 final after finding inspiration with wife Lindsey during the midway interval. Hunter won eight of 11 frames in the evening session and what he jokingly called his 'plan B' became the stuff of legend.

He also fought back from 5-0 down to beat Mark Williams 10-9 in the final a year later.

And he completed a hat-trick of Masters victories in 2004 when he came from 7-2 down to beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-9.

A splash of wedding photos in Hello! magazine confirmed Hunter as a sportsman who transcended his chosen pursuit to achieve celebrity status.

He should have reached the 2003 World Championship final, where he led Ken Doherty 15-9 in the semi-finals before the Irishman stormed back to win 17-16. And Thorne believes Hunter would have certainly won the World Championship if cancer had not struck. "Anyone who wins the Masters back-to-back is a great player," said Thorne. "Paul Hunter was a great player and I'm sure that he would have been a future world champion, without a doubt."

Despite chemotherapy treatment, Hunter continued to compete professionally but won only one match last season and fell from fifth to 34th in the rankings.

Paul Hunter
Born: 14/10/1978
Turned pro: 1998
Major titles: Welsh Open ('98, '02), Masters ('01, '02, '04), British Open ('02)
Family: Wife Lindsey, daughter Evie Rose
Died: 9/10/2006

10-09-2006, 05:03 PM
I think I've seen this guy play, Oplo.

That's really sad. He was only 27.

10-09-2006, 07:02 PM
I've played snooker, Mr. koffie, but I didn't know of Paul Hunter.

I have been shooting pool since I was a kid. I have a table in my home, and I often join a bunch of friends on Friday nights (we usually get together once a month), at a billiards club in my hometown. The club ("Classic Billiards") has a Snooker table. I never got as good at Snooker as I am at regular billiards, but it is a fun game. The size of the table compared to a regulation pool table really throws me for a loop.