Snooker star Alex Higgins dies

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Snooker star Alex Higgins has died after a long battle with throat cancer.

The 61-year-old former world champion was known as the Hurricane by his many fans.

Higgins, from Northern Ireland, was diagnosed with throat cancer more than 10 years ago. He was discovered at a block of flats in the centre of Belfast. He had been unwell for some time.

The player had not been answering his mobile phone and the flat had to be broken into, sources close to him said.

Living in sheltered housing on the Donegall Road in Belfast, Mr Higgins is considered to be one of the finest snooker players of all time. He has had long-term problems with alcohol and smoking since winning the world title in 1972 and 1982.

Despite his numerous fights and rows with referees over the years, he continued to play the game regularly and appeared at the Irish Professional Championship in 2005 and 2006.

Higgins has been an inspiration for many of today's best players, including Ken Doherty, Jimmy White and Ronnie O'Sullivan.