Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dazzler Hunter Was Becks of the Baize; Snooker Mourns Loss of Star Who Transcended the Sport to Achieve Celebrity Status, Writes Marco Giacomelli

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dazzler Hunter Was Becks of the Baize; Snooker Mourns Loss of Star Who Transcended the Sport to Achieve Celebrity Status, Writes Marco Giacomelli

Article excerpt

Byline: MARCO GIACOMELLI

PAUL HUNTER, who died last night after losing his battle with cancer, was not only one of the most popular players on the snooker circuit but one of its brightest talents.

His fame was such that it transcended the game, earning him the nickname the 'Beckham of the baize'.

Hunter was a three-times Masters champion, rose to No4 in the rankings and was widely expected to add the World Championship to his list of titles until illness took hold.

He died at 8.20pm at Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield, five days before his 28th birthday. He leaves a wife, Lindsey, and a daughter, Evie Rose, who was born on Boxing Day last year.

Hunter was diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumours of the lining of his stomach in March 2005.

He appeared to be beating the disease when he returned to competition but his condition deteriorated and he was taken into Kirkwood last Friday.

Despite chemotherapy treatment, Hunter remained committed to resuming his career but he won only one match last season and fell from fifth to 34th in the rankings.

Hunter turned professional in 1995 and that season he reached the semifinals of the Welsh Open, knocking out seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry. He won the event in 1998, his first major title at the age of 19.

The Leeds player 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 and fought from 5-0 adrift to beat Mark Williams 10-9 in the final a year later.

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

Until the news of his cancer broke, Hunter was best known as a happy-golucky character, a pinup boy, a frankly hopeless competitor on the BBC's revived Superstars show and the man with 'plan B' up his sleeve. Famously, when Hunter won the Masters for the first time, he found inspiration during the midway interval by returning with Lindsey to their hotel room. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.