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Sunday, 16 April, 2000, 08:41 GMT 09:41 UK
Alex Higgins 'almost stopped breathing'
Alex Higgins
Higgins attracted an army of fans
Former snooker champion Alex Higgins almost stopped breathing when he collapsed in a Dubai airport, a friend has said.

Belfast-born Higgins was admitted to hospital after feeling unwell at an airport on his way back to his native country.

The 51-year-old had been visiting the United Arab Emirates to watch the Dubai World Cup horse race.

Oxfordshire-born Nic Barrow, the official Emirates snooker coach, said: "He is making pretty good recovery considering that we understand he virtually stopped breathing a couple of times at the airport.

"His salt levels are up, his sugar levels are up, his water levels are up and hopefully in a couple of days he'll be strong enough to come home."


Alex Higgins: His gaunt appearance has shocked fans
Higgins' gaunt appearance has shocked fans
Higgins was 22 when he won snooker's world championship at his first attempt in 1972, and repeated the feat in 1982.

He was known as a flair player and attracted an army of fans.

But he led a colourful life away from the sport and drank heavily throughout his tempestuous career.

He was forced to quit snooker after developing cancer.

The ex-champion has undergone more than 40 doses of radiotherapy and an operation to remove a cancerous lymph node in his neck.

He announced last year that he was going to sue the tobacco industry, claiming he had no idea of the dangers of smoking.

The man dubbed Hurricane Higgins in his snooker heyday once described himself as "a living example of the damages of smoking".

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