Gary Lineker ‘deeply saddened’ as Snooker star and ‘lovely’ friend Willie Thorne, 66, dies

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Legendary snooker player Willie Thorne was originally taken to hospital last week with dangerously low blood pressure, before being placed in a coma at a Spanish hospital prior to his passing. Gary Lineker tweeted to his 7.5 million followers: “Deeply, deeply saddened to hear that my friend Willie Thorne has passed away.

One of life’s great characters

Gary Lineker

“One of life’s great characters. A marvellous snooker player and a lovely man, who’s potted his final black much too soon. RIP Willie.”

The snooker player was diagnosed with cancer in March 

A Go Fund Me page was set up by his friend Julie O’Neill and golfer Mark Roe in April to help Willie pay for care at home and cover his bills for food and rent after being declared bankrupt in 2015.

His recent ailing health and the coronavirus pandemic have meant that Willie struggled to make any money at all.


  • BBC’s Simon McCoy asks Gary Lineker to ‘please stop’

Gary helped the cause by donating €1,000, Spanish golf star Miguel Jiminez donated €200 and British golfer Danny Willett has donated €2,000.

It had surpassed the £17,000 mark by Tuesday lunchtime.

Julie wrote on the page: “Once again I thank everybody for your messages of support and words of encouragement, I know they have been a comfort to Willie but also for me too.

“Hopefully soon I can update you with something more positive “

Willie enjoyed a 26-year playing career in professional snooker, winning 14 worldwide titles and reaching the UK Championship final in 1985

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