Friends of Alex Higgins have put £10,000 of funds raised for his medical treatment towards a lavish funeral.
The 61-year-old Higgins was discovered dead in his sheltered home in Belfast yesterday after years battling throat cancer. As tributes poured in for the Northern Irishman over the weekend, his friend and former personal assistant Will Robinson said the remaining money from an auction and a fundraising dinner would be used to give him a "great send-off".
"There was £15,000, there’s probably about £10,000 in total when we get everything in. Now that’s going to pay for a great send-off," he said.
Funeral details have not yet been finalised and Robinson said there may be a delay to allow his friend and fellow player Jimmy White to return from Thailand. "He's asked to hold things up until he gets back. That's the plan and the family have agreed to that."
A book of condolence will be opened for Higgins at Belfast City Hall on Tuesday. The city's Lord Mayor, Pat Convery, said: "Many citizens and visitors to our city will want to pay tribute to Alex Higgins in recognition of the contribution the Belfast man made to snooker and raising the profile of the sport to a worldwide audience."
Despite squandering his snooker winnings in a life blighted by drink and gambling, Higgins drew great respect from his peers, who were united in tribute for the two-time world champion.
The Irishman Ken Doherty, was world champion in 1997 and spoke of the influence Higgins had on his career. "He certainly was an inspiration to me," Doherty said. "Nobody could emulate what he did. He was such a once-off. He was so charismatic, unpredictable, the way he played the game, his character himself, he was just a genius."
Scottish player John Higgins, also followed in the footsteps of his namesake, winning the world title in 1998, 2007 and 2009.
"As a youngster it was the magical play of players like Hurricane Higgins that inspired me and many of my generation to fall in love with snooker," said Higgins, the world No1 who was suspended by World Snooker in May 2010 following allegations of match fixing, which the player denied.