Higgins funeral to be held next week

 

The funeral of former snooker world champion Alex Higgins is to take place in Belfast next week.

Arrangements are being made for Canon Houston McKelvey to conduct a service at St Annes Church of Ireland Cathedral in Donegall Street.

Alex “the Hurricane” Higgins (61) fought a long battle with throat cancer. He had been quite ill in recent weeks even though he had attempted to join a veterans’ snooker tournament in Britain.

He was found in bed at his flat in the Sandy Row area late last Saturday afternoon. It is believed he had been dead for a number of days.

A postmortem examination was carried out, but it is not yet known if an inquest into his death will be held. He lived alone.

Higgins is credited with dragging snooker into the public eye in the 1970s and 1980s with his flamboyant style of play and extravagant lifestyle that saw him become a regular on the party scene and strike up a friendship with fellow Ulsterman George Best.

Higgins, who was born in Belfast on March 19th, 1949, started playing snooker at the age of 11 and won the All-Ireland and Northern Ireland amateur snooker championships in 1968.

After turning professional he became the youngest World Championship winner at his first attempt, beating John Spencer in 1972.

His record was beaten when 21-year-old Stephen Hendry claimed the trophy in 1990.

Higgins was beaten in the World Championship finals in 1976 and 1980 but claimed the title for a second time in 1982.