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Paul Hunter

Heard the sad news first thing yesterday morning as I was getting ready to go to work; read this article this morning and it made me tear up....

THE wife of snooker star Paul Hunter has paid a loving tribute to her husband — and told of his bravery in fighting the cancer which finally claimed his life.

 

Speaking in 27-year-old Paul’s final days, Lindsey said: “He has more guts and courage than anybody in the world. The way he has fought it and lived his life is an inspiration to us all.

“For weeks when he was first diagnosed, Paul insisted we didn’t tell anybody because he didn’t want any fuss.

“That’s Paul all over. He’s so positive and never wants to see me moping around. That’s why I keep going and putting on this brave face — if Paul can do it, then so can I.”

Pin-up Paul was diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumours, a rare form of intestinal cancer, in 2005. Two days before he was due to start his treatment Lindsey discovered she was pregnant.

She gave birth to daughter Evie on Boxing Day.

Despite the pain of chemotherapy, Paul played on until April, at the World Championships in Sheffield.

Speaking two weeks ago — prior to a charity ball in his honour — Lindsey, 31, said: “He just wanted to live a normal life for the sake of me and our daughter.

“Even when Paul is having a bad day, a few minutes with Evie brings a smile to his face. She is the best tonic in the world for him. He is so proud of her and every moment they have together is so precious.

“We had always wanted a family and when we found out I was pregnant it was like a miracle.”

Lindsey met Paul when he was just 18. He was her best friend’s cousin, but it took three years to get together.

Lindsey recalled: “It was his cheekiness that appealed.”

They wed in May 2004. Blonde Paul, from Leeds, wowed fans with his flamboyant play and was nicknamed the Beckham of the baize.

The former world No 4 clinched back-to-back Wembley Masters titles in 2001 and 2002, then won again in 2004. His first victory was famed for him disappearing during a break in play to romp with Lindsey in a hotel.

Paul, who would have been 28 on Saturday, died on Monday night at the Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield with relatives including Lindsey at his bedside.

Also there was his best snooker pal Matthew Stevens, 29, who made it moments before Paul passed away.

Their agent Brandon Parker said: “It was really important for Matthew to be by his side.

“Paul wasn’t able to speak, but he knew Matthew was there for him. It was an emotional moment for everyone.”

He added: “Lindsey is not mourning — she’s celebrating the life of a wonderful man.

“She’s fine, the death was not unexpected. He was in pain at the end, and no one wants to see people they love in pain.

“The public interest has been phenomenal. Everywhere he went he brought sun, light and happiness.”

Cue legend Jimmy White, 44, was playing an exhibition to raise cash for Paul’s cancer charity when the star died.

He left the table in Stockport to be told the bad news.

Jimmy, who fought testicular cancer, said: “It was a very dark moment. I’d just raised £10,000 for Paul’s charity, then I was told he had died.

“Earlier that day I’d gone to the hospice, but Paul’s dad Alan told me he was asleep and said I should play the exhibition and come back tomorrow. Sadly it wasn’t to be.”

Two-time world champ Ronnie O’Sullivan said: “It’s an absolute tragedy. Paul’s strength, courage and continued optimism were an inspiration.”

Nurses who cared for Paul paid their own touching tribute with an internet message.

It read: “Our hearts and prayers are with you and your lovely family. It was an honour knowing you, Paul. Your warm smile will be in our hearts forever. Our deepest condolences are with your wonderful family. All our Love. ”

DONATIONS to the NET Patient Foundation can be made at www.justgiving.com/npf/donate or by cheque made out to NET Patient Foundation and sent to Andrew Geach, 34 Poplar Road, Dorridge, West Midlands B93 8DB.

LINK for this article: http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006470318,00.html


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