His weight had reportedly plummeted to only seven stone as he had to have all his food pureed because eating in a normal fashion had become excruciating.
Friends of the controversial snooker legend had raised around £20,000 to enable Higgins to have the surgery in Spain.
However, he was deemed too frail to undergo the operation by the Spanish medics.
Higgins was in the news in May after claiming that he had knowledge of at least four top players taking bribes to lose tournament matches.
He also revealed that he turned down several big-money offers to throw games in his career.
Archive - Higgins pips White to 1982 final (UK users only)
Higgins, the world champion in 1972 and 1982, claimed Greek gamblers offered him £18,000 in 1979 to lose his Benson & Hedges Masters quarter-final against Perrie Mans and £20,000 to cheat at the Irish Masters in 1989 but rejected both.
Higgins was scheduled to appear in the new World Seniors Championship in November.
The Belfast man clinched his first World title in 1972 as he defeated John Spencer in the final and memorably repeated that triumph 10 years later at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield by beating Ray Reardon.
Higgins was also beaten in the 1976 and 1980 world finals while other triumphs included two Masters titles at Wembley.
He had frequent brushes with snooker's governing body - he once head-butted a tournament director - and his career suffered a downward spiral after being banned for an entire season following a threat to have his compatriot Dennis Taylor shot in 1990.
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