• Quote: ‘Willie passed away very peacefully and without pain, listening to his children saying they love him’.

By Andrew Atkinson

Villamartin based snooker star Willie Thorne, 66, died on Wednesday morning (June 17) at Torrevieja hospital after going into septic shock in ICU.

“It is with a very heavy and broken heart that I have to officially announce that at 1.55am this morning Willie Thorne lost his battle and passed away,” friend and carer Julie O’Niell told me.

“Willie went into septic shock and was not responding to any treatment – so the decision was made by the hospital to turn off the machines,” said O’Neill.

“I was with him all the way to his end – reading out messages to him from people,” said O’Neill.

“He passed away very peacefully and without pain, listening to his children saying they love him – that gives me some comfort in this difficult time,” said O’Neill.

Related article: Willie Thorne put into induced coma

“In Spain everything happens very quickly (regards to deaths) and myself and his family will be making (funeral) plans,” added O’Neill.

“It disappoints me somewhat that people were Tweeting he had passed away – when he was still holding on and with us. I guess that’s celebrity life,” said O’Neill.

The Leader newspaper was thanked personally by Thorne, O’Neill and Thorne’s close friend, British golfer Mark Roe, following him undergoing chemotherapy treatment for leukaemia since March.

As tributes began to flood in, football personality Gary Lineker was one of the first celebrities to take to Twitter calling Willie Thorne ‘One of lifes great characters.’

“It is very sad news that Willie passed away at 1.55am this morning,” Roe told me.

Thorne had undergone multiple blood transfusions and suffered gout, along with undergoing MRI scans and tests for a mystery illness, the latter seeing him placed into an induced coma at the weekend.

A GoFundMe campaign that raised over €20,000 was launched to help raise financial funds to pay for round the clock care at his Villamartin home, when not in hospital.

Thorne had thanked The Leader, after informing him that Ronnie O’Sullivan had grown a moustache in his honour, and sent a message to O’Sullivan on June 14 saying ‘I Love You’, to snooker star O’Sullivan.

“Thank you so very much to everyone that has been involved in Willie’s care – you have all been absolutely amazing and Willie couldn’t have asked for better.

“Thank you for all the donations, that enabled him to get the care he needed. This will now pay for his Funeral.

“Thank you for all the well wishes and beautiful messages of support,” said O’Neill.