Willie Thorne to undergo chemotherapy treatment for leukaemia

Willie Thorne
Willie Thorne began his professional snooker career in 1975, reaching a career-high world ranking of seven in 1987 and 1994

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.external-link

"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 Thorne was six-time World Championship runner-up Jimmy White.

"Gutted to hear about the great WT. Stay strong mate," White, 57, wrote on Twitter.external-link