Belfast Telegraph

Book claims Alex Higgins' last words to daughter were 'F**k off'

By Anne Madden

He fuelled controversy throughout his life and even in death snooker legend Alex Higgins continues to shock.



A new book examining the ‘People’s Champion’ from Belfast says his last words to his loving daughter Lauren were “F*** off, then!”

The revelation is all the more shocking as it is a far cry from the tender poem read by Lauren in honour of her father at his funeral last year in Belfast.

However, the controversial new biography illuminates the many contradictions of one of Northern Ireland’s most notorious sports stars.

Who Was Hurricane Higgins? is a series of interviews with more than 60 people who knew the snooker champion — his friends, family as well as his enemies — and often paints an unflattering picture of the late star. It is the second book on Higgins by author Tony Francis, a former ITV snooker presenter who regarded him as a friend.

In the book, Lauren Higgins recalls her final poignant conversation with her ailing dad.

At 61, her father, emaciated through illness, had phoned her in England to invite her to a dinner being held to raise money for his tooth implants.

“Dad just said there was a dinner for him and could I be there?” she recalled. “He gave me a day’s notice. I tried to rearrange my work schedule but couldn’t. He didn’t understand people who had nine-to-five jobs. He thought they could drop whatever they were doing, like he could. I told him it was impossible to get away. He ranted at me. His last words were: ‘F**k off, then!’

“Although he left a voicemail apologising, we never spoke again. I have to live with that.”

This incident with his daughter is one of a startling range of insights into the troubled snooker player who died on July 24, 2010, alone in his Sandy Row flat in Belfast.

Francis describes Higgins as “a catastrophic human being” who was extremely bright, and could be very funny and warm.

“When he talked about his daughter you could see how much he loved her and it grieved him that he couldn’t spend more time with her,” he said.

Who Was Hurricane Higgins? by Tony Francis is published by Hodder & Stoughton priced £20

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