Higgins
John Higgins senior, father of the three-times World Champion, died on February 4 after a long battle against cancer.

 

Higgins junior pulled out of the German Masters tournament in Berlin to rush back to Scotland, but sadly then received the news that his father had passed away.

 

Higgins senior accompanied his son to tournaments for most of his career and was a popular and gregarious figure backstage on the circuit for nearly 20 years.

 

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "On behalf of World Snooker I send deepest sympathies to the Higgins family at this sad time."

 

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry led the tributes to John at the Tempodrom in Berlin, learning the sad news shortly before taking to the table in his 5-3 defeat to Mark Selby.


The 42-year-old from Auchterarder said: "It's a very sad day, and all my thoughts go to John and the rest of his family.


"I have had some great times and some really good laughs with John Sr, and plenty of beers.

"He was a fantastic character, with loads of good humour and just like John the snooker player we know, only a senior version.


"I had known him for a very long time, most of John's snooker career. His affectionate nickname was 'Hector'. You can only feel for them all, John must be devastated.


"I can't imagine what John himself must be going through.


"I remember a time when Scotland played in the World Team Championship at the Hexagon in Reading.


"There was a nice Italian restaurant just next door, and John Sr and I used to have a bottle of white wine together.


"After the match and we were going for dinner or lunch or whatever, we'd all say 'You coming for a bottle?'.


"I also remember times we used to go to Thailand and buy the fake watches. He once put someone's watch in a pint to see if it was fake or not, bit it was real.


"He was just a great character to be around, and when you hear news like that you realise how secondary what has just happened on the table is."

Larkhall's former world champion Graeme Dott, 33, is a friend and regular practice partner of Higgins - and paid his own tribute to Higgins Sr.


After reaching the last eight with a 5-2 win over Anthony Hamilton, he said: "It is incredibly sad news, he was a great guy whenever he was at a tournament.


"You could have a drink and a laugh with him, he was a really nice guy and will be sadly missed by all the professionals who have been on the tour and met him.


"He was always there supporting John. I got a text earlier from John with the news, and he must be devastated, it will be very hard for him and his family.


"All my thoughts are with John and his family."


Long-serving World Snooker tournament director Mike Ganley said: "It is very sad news for all those who knew him, and my thoughts and those of all the team go out to John and his family.


"John Sr was a lovely guy around the place and a very well-known face to all, and he loyally supported his son for many years all round the circuit.


"I have particular memories of him at the Crucible in Sheffield, where he loved to be watching John do battle with the best."


Joe Swail added: "I was very friendly with John Sr. I lost my mum at a very young age, and it's an awful thing losing a parent.


"We were close, and had a lot of laughs, parties and great times back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. There were some glory days, my thoughts are with his family and he'll be sadly missed.


"I remember a lot of nights at the Crucible, and also the Nations Cup with Scotland and Ireland. He also always came to China and Thailand in the early days.


"We were often last to leave the bar. I'm the sort of person who likes to be around characters, and he was one."