His tempestuous relationships captured as many column inches as his hard drinking, gambling and public outbursts. Here, we profile the women who each played a part in the life of the controversial legend.
Alex’s mother Elizabeth and his three sisters Isobel, Anne and Jean always provided a bedrock of stability in the turbulent life of the snooker star.
During his teens Elizabeth scolded him for gambling in Belfast’s snooker halls, but later was fiercely proud of his success.
After his cancer diagnosis in 1998 sisters Anne and Jean brought him back to Northern Ireland, found him somewhere to live and supported him throughout his treatment. His other sister Isobel lived in Australia, but would phone every day. He always credited them with getting him through this difficult time.
Alex’s second wife Lynn gave birth to their daughter Lauren in 1981. Although Higgins described Lauren’s arrival as “a whole new beginning”, he found the responsibilities of parenthood hard to cope with.
Little Lauren had a starring role in Alex’s most memorable TV moment, when a tearful Higgins embraced his wife and baby daughter after winning the World Snooker title.
Lauren, along with brother Jordan, visited their father frequently during his illness and she is said to be “inconsolable” following his death.
Higgins met Liz Kendall in the early Seventies when she was working in Churchill’s nightclub in London. They bonded over a shared love of horses.
Although their relationship had few of the fireworks of his later romances, Alex’s unpredictable nature led to their split. As he said: “She finally had enough one day.”
Higgins met his first wife Cara Hasler in Australia in 1973. They both loved partying and gambling at the race track, common interests Alex later recognised as the beginning of his downfall. They were married in April 1975 in Sydney.
Blazing rows led to the breakdown of their relationship in 1977. Cara gave birth to a daughter during the marriage; Alex never discovered if the child was his and had no contact with her.
Lynn Avison was the major relationship in Alex’s life.
They met not long after he split with Cara and married in 1980.
Daughter Lauren was born in 1981 and son Jordan in 1983.
Their relationship was peppered with Alex’s infidelities, run-ins with the law and drinking sessions and they eventually divorced in 1985.
In the 1980s he met Siobhan Kidd, 13 years his junior, whom he often referred to as his “last great love”. His time with her was rockier still with her attempted suicide, his fall from her apartment window and Higgins’ deteriorating finances and drinking.
After a physical assault in 1989, she left him.
Perhaps his most famously disastrous relationship was with Holly Haise, at the time a 26-year-old escort.
The romance came to an explosive end in 1997 when she stabbed Higgins three times. He never pressed charges.