Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Emotional Jimmy White leads Higgins funeral crowds

Jimmy White carries the coffin of Alex Higgins.
Jimmy White carries the coffin of Alex Higgins.
Great Niece Alex Mitchell pictured at Snooker Legend Alex Higgins Funeral
Sean Murphy at Snooker Legend Alex Higgins Funeral at St. Annes Cathedral Belfast
Mourners at the funeral of Alex Higgins
Ken Doherty with fans pay their respects at Alex Higgins funeral
Alex's daughter Lauren arrives at St. Annes Cathedral Belfast
Jimmy White at the funeral of Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins.
The funeral of Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins.
The funeral of Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins.
The funeral of Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins.
Ken Doherty at the funeral of Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins.
Snooker player and friend Ken Doherty helping to carry the coffin.
The funeral of Alex higgins. St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of Alex higgins. St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of Alex Higgins. St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of Alex Higgins. St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of Alex Higgins. St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of Alex Higgins. St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of Alex Higgins. St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. August 2010
Pacemaker Press 2/8/10 Jimmy White attends the funeral ofFormer Snooker World Champion Alex Higgins as his coffin leaves the Donegal Road for his Funeral at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast , Alex died after suffering from cancer Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 2/8/10 Jimmy White and Steven Henry attend the funeral of Former Snooker World Champion Alex Higgins as his coffin leaves the Donegal Road for his Funeral at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast , Alex died after suffering from cancer Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 2/8/10 Jimmy White attends the funeral of Former Snooker World Champion Alex Higgins as his coffin leaves the Donegal Road for his Funeral at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast , Alex died after suffering from cancer Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Coronation Street actor Ryan Thomas attends the funeral of Former Snooker World Champion Alex Higgins
John Virgo attends the funeral of Former Snooker World Champion Alex Higgins
Jimmy White attends the funeral of Former Snooker World Champion Alex Higgins
The funeral of Former Snooker World Champion Alex Higgins. August 2010
Alex Higgins in his 1985 heyday at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield
Alex Higgins' coffin arrives at St. Anne's Cathedral, Belfast
Alex Higgins
The funeral cortege of snooker legend Alex Higgins makes its way down the Donegall Road in south Belfast. August 2010
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd August The funeral cortege of snooker legend Alex Higgins makes its way down the Donegall Road in south Belfast. Mr Higgins was buried at Carnmoney Cemetery on the outskirts of north Belfast.Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
The funeral of snooker legend Alex Higgins. Belfast. August 2010
Loyalist Jackie McDonald at the funeral of snooker legend Alex Higgins. Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of snooker legend Alex Higgins. Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of snooker legend Alex Higgins. Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of snooker legend Alex Higgins. Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of snooker legend Alex Higgins. Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of snooker legend Alex Higgins. Belfast. August 2010
Ken Doherty at the funeral of snooker legend Alex Higgins. Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of snooker legend Alex Higgins. Belfast. August 2010
The funeral of snooker legend Alex Higgins. Belfast. August 2010
The cortege of snooker legend Alex Higgins makes a poignant journey through the centre of Belfast on its way to St Anne's Cathedral. August 2010
A note from Alex Higgins
Alex Higgins, George Best , Jackie Charlton and Denis Taylor
Tommy McCaughran with Alex Higgins, George Best and Alex's father
The cortege of snooker legend Alex Higgins makes a poignant journey through the centre of Belfast on its way to St Anne's Cathedral. August 2010
Tribute and Flowers left at the sister of snooker legend Alex Higgins, house in Iverna Close in Belfast ahead of his funeral
Short poem written by Alex Higgins
The cortege of snooker legend Alex Higgins makes a poignant journey through the centre of Belfast on its way to St Anne's Cathedral. August 2010
The cortege of snooker legend Alex Higgins makes a poignant journey through the centre of Belfast on its way to St Anne's Cathedral. August 2010
The cortege of snooker legend Alex Higgins makes a poignant journey through the centre of Belfast on its way to St Anne's Cathedral. August 2010
Tribute and Flowers left at the sister of snooker legend Alex Higgins, house in Iverna Close in Belfast ahead of his funeral
Tribute and Flowers left at the sister of snooker legend Alex Higgins, house in Iverna Close in Belfast ahead of his funeral
People read floral tributes left for Alex Higgins on Belfast's Donegal Road
Tribute and Flowers left at the sister of snooker legend Alex Higgins, house in Iverna Close in Belfast ahead of his funeral
A woman taking a picture of a new mural of Alex Higgins at the Royal Bar on Belfast's Donegal Road. August 2010
05-01-1980. Confetti scatters at the wedding of Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins and bride Lynn, at the United Reform church in Wilmslow.
A book of condolence has been opened for former snooker world champion Alex Higgins
Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins
Snooker legend Alex Higgins. 2010
Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins, 1949-2010
Former world champion Alex Higgins in action in 1994
Alex Hurricane Higgins
Former world champion Alex Higgins in action in 1994
05-01-1980. Confetti scatters at the wedding of Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins and bride Lynn, at the United Reform church in Wilmslow.
21-04-1986, Alex Higgins enjoys a cigarette during a moment's break during the Embassy World Snooker Championship match against John Spencer in Sheffield.

Alex Higgins
'The Hurricane' played snooker with a style and verve never before seen and won the World Championship in 1972, beating John Spencer in the final and again in 1982. That latter triumph, against six-times champion Ray Reardon, is best remembered for Higgins' tears at the end as he cradled his baby daughter in his arms. Higgins' win over Jimmy White in the semi-final was regarded as one of the all time great matches, particularly the Belfast cueman's 69 break in the penultimate frame on the way to a 16-15 victory. The Hurricane is almost as well known for his off-the-table bust-ups and his many run-ins with snooker officialdom over the years. But despite his difficulties, he remains one of the most gifted players ever to pick up a cue, with Ronnie O'Sullivan the only current star worthy of a mention in the same breath.
Alex Higgins
Alex Higgins
This close-up picture of Alex Higgins taken by Ulster photographer Cathal McNaughton
Alex Higgins
ALEX HIGGINS Until the robotic Stephen Hendry turned up as a 21-year-old world snooker champion in 1990, Alex "Hurricane" Higgins had been the youngest ever winner of the title, when he beat John Spencer in the best-of-73-frames 1972 final. It was Higgins' first appearance at the tournament and his flamboyant style and break-neck speed around the table earned him the "Hurricane" sobriquet. It is a nickname that could just as easily have applied to his life away from the beize, although the notoriously sedate snooker arena also witnessed its fair share of storms. At the 1986 UK championships, Higgins was fined and disqualified for head-butting a referee. Four years later, after a first round defeat at The Crucible, Higgins punched a tournament official before going on to announce his retirement from the game.
Alex Higgins in 1999 at his friend Ollie Reed's funeral in County Cork
Alex Higgins pictured at a bar in Belfast
Alex 'Hurrican' Higgins
Alex 'Hurrican' Higgins.
Alex Higgins pictured at a bar in Belfast where he spoke about his his autobiography "Alex Higgins 'My Story' from the eye of the Hurricane".
Alex Higgins. 16/3/81.
Alex "Hurricane" Higgins pictured 19th April 1980.259/80
Alex Higgins. 10/5/85.
Former World Champion snooker star Alex Higgins enjoys a day out at the races despite fighting off the effects of throat cancer.
Alex Higgins pictured in the mid 1980's
x
Alex Higgins considering his next shot during the 1983 World Snooker Championships in Sheffield.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Exhibition match at Waterfront. (19/06/1997)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Oliver Reed and Alex Higgins. (December 1992)
Alex Higgins
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. (02/06/1993)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. A familiar sights for snooker fans... Irish professional champion Alex Higgins wiping his cue with a towel during last night's title match against Dennis Taylor in the Ulster Hall. Higgins won the first session 7-2 in the 41 frame decider which is being presented by the 'Belfast Telegraph' and Kearney Promotions. (03/02/1978)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Alex Higgins senior pictured with his son after Alex had regained the Smithwick's Irish Professional Snooker Championship in Maysfield Leisure Centre. Alex won the final against reigning champion Dennis Taylor by 16 frames to 11.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. World professional snooker champion Alex Higgins (right), who was in Belfast to-day for the wedding of his sister, Jean, of Abingdon Street to John Robson, Crumlin Road. The couple were married in St. Aidan's Parish Chursh, Blythe Street, Sandy Row, Belfast.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Four Ulster sportsmen were given Texaco Sportstars of the Year Awards (1982) at a banquet in Dublin last - John Watson, Barry McGuigan, Gerry Armstrong and Alex Higgins. Photographed at the ceremony were McGuigan, Northern Ireland team manager Billy Bingham, who collected the trophy on behalf of Armstrong and Higgins.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Alex Higgins, pictured with the championship trophy he intends to hold on to. (12/03/1983)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Snooker star Alex Higgins signs autographs for twins Brenda (left) and Geraldine Brammled at the press conference to announce the details of the Irish Professional Snooker Championship, which will be held in the Antrim Forum from February 9-12. (1988)
17-05-1982, World Snooker Champion, Alex Higgins is saluted by his baby daughter Lauren with his wife Lynne, after a nail-biting battle against six-times champion Ray Reardon at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre.
13-04-1973, world professional snooker champion Alex Higgins shows off his new look, as created by Tom Gilbey.
Noel Cairns holds a shopping list given to him by former snooker champion Alex Higgins, near Ulidia House in south Belfast where Higgin's body was discovered.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Surrounded by beautiful girls, the lightning Alex. 'Hurricane' Higgins signs autographs for fans Jacqui McFerran, Marion Allen and Catherine McFerran. (15/04/80)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. World snooker champion Alexander 'Hurricane' Higgins in Belfast. (08/11/1976)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. (February 1978)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Exhibition match at Waterfront. (19/06/1997)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Exhibition match at Waterfront. (19/06/1997)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Exhibition match at Waterfront. (19/06/1997)
Former World Snooker Player Champion Alex "Hurricane" Higgins at his book signing in Easons 02.06.07.
Snooker legend Alex Higgins spotted Tallaght 2005.
Alex Higgins 4/3/82
Oliver Reid, Reg Presley & Alex Higgins
Snooker star Alex Higgins is taken to hospital with stab wounds after an incident involving a woman. 2008
25-7-2010Flowers for Alex Higgins are left at a muralon the Donegal Road to in honour of the snooker legend who died yesterday in Belfast.

A tearful Jimmy White has led mourners at the funeral of snooker legend Alex "Hurricane" Higgins.

The "Whirlwind" helped carry the coffin of the troubled genius from his family home in Belfast as other greats of the game, including Stephen Hendry and Ken Doherty, followed. The funeral procession was led by a horse-drawn carriage as family and friends of the 61-year-old followed in sombre procession.

A cortege left the house in Roden Street in the south of the city to pass through the Sandy Row area, stopping at the street where Higgins grew up, before passing the social housing apartment where he was found dead last month. A fresh mural to the two-time world champion featured on the wall opposite the scene of his death.

A funeral service is to be held at St Anne's Church of Ireland Cathedral.

Higgins was found in bed at his flat just over a week ago and it is believed he had been dead for several days after a long battle with throat cancer, plus the impact of a life of heavy drinking.

Sections of Belfast city centre will be closed off for the funeral cortege and large crowds are expected to pay their respects to a former champion considered to be one of the finest snooker players of all time.

After turning professional he became the youngest World Championship winner at his first attempt, beating John Spencer in 1972 at the age of 22. The record was eventually beaten when 21-year-old Stephen Hendry claimed the trophy in 1990. Higgins claimed the world title for a second time in 1982.

A controversial figure, Higgins was banned from five tournaments and fined £12,000 in 1986 when he headbutted UK Championship tournament director Paul Hatherell.

In 1990 Higgins was banned for the rest of the season after he punched a tournament director at the World Championship.

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

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