Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Alex Higgins ‘thought about suicide'

This close-up picture of Alex Higgins taken by Ulster photographer Cathal McNaughton
This close-up picture of Alex Higgins taken by Ulster photographer Cathal McNaughton
Alex Higgins won snooker's World Championship at his first attempt in 1972

Northern Ireland snooker legend Alex Higgins has admitted he was so overcome by depression in recent months that he wanted to kill himself.

The 62-year-old former double world champion, whose battle with throat cancer has reduced him to a shadow of the star he was, said his health woes sent him spiralling into depression and at one point he wanted to commit suicide.

“I thought about it, I wanted to do it,” he told the News of the World. Intense radiotherapy treatment on the Belfast man once dubbed ‘Hurricane Higgins’ has led to the loss of all of his teeth and excruciating pain when he tries to eat a proper meal.

Higgins, who lives alone in a flat in Belfast and survives on a £200 per week disability living allowance, said reading a Bible his mother gave him at the age of 15 helped saved his life.

“I just haven’t got the courage to kill myself,” he said. “Three months ago when the weather was really bad I just hit my lowest.

“I read my Bible and told myself, ‘You can fight.’ I have been a fighter all my life. That’s what stopped me going through with it.”

The snooker legend, who was once worth around £4m, has been living off baby food for 12 years but now aims to raise £20,000 for teeth implants so he can eat himself back to health.

“I’m so weak I just don’t have a choice,” he said.

“You can’t eat, you can’t smile. It causes deep depression.”

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