Willie Thorne, one of snooker’s most popular figures, is to undergo chemotherapy treatment after being diagnosed with leukaemia.
Thorne was runner-up in the 1985 UK Championship, and had a career-high ranking of number seven in the world.
He retired from professional snooker in 2001 and was also a BBC commentator.
“I realise everybody is having a tough time. Mine’s just got worse – I’ve been diagnosed with leukaemia,” the 66-year-old wrote on Twitter.
“I’m devastated. Start chemotherapy tomorrow. I’m in Spain where the health care is hopefully second to none – love to you all. Willie.”
Among the well-wishers offering support to Leicester-born White was six-time World Championship runner-up Jimmy White.
“Gutted to hear about the great WT. Stay strong mate,” White, 57, wrote on Twitter.