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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Hurricane Higgins: Father of snooker

Alex Higgins, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, aged 61, has passed on, following a long battle with throat cancer (heavy smoker); Alex "Hurricane" (Hurricane) Higgins was the father of modern snooker, taking the sport to the TV screens, inspiring generations of young people and through his unique style, placing his sport where it remains today at international level.

At age 19, had already won the snooker championships of all Ireland and Northern Ireland and three years later, turned professional and won the world title (1972) against John Spencer. Ten years later, won the second world championship.

His style "Hurricane" catapulted snooker to the status it enjoys today, leading many young people to see sport as a professional opportunity. He placed snooker on the world map, bringing it out of its parochial Anglo-Saxonic wilderness.

Much loved by everyone in his city, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Alex Hurricane Higgins also performed many charitable activities, which he certainly would not mention, so we will not refer to them here.

The epitaph of Alex Higgins would be something like this: You lived your life as you understood, and popularised your sport, opening new opportunities and possibilities for many young people. Had there not been a Hurricane Higgins, snooker would not exist on such a scale as it is enjoyed today.

How many sports players, or indeed those in any other profession, can say they've made this difference?