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Page last updated at 23:43 GMT, Friday, 19 November 2010

Ronnie O'Sullivan Sr freed after 18 years in prison

Ronnie O'Sullivan
O'Sullivan says his father being in prison has motivated him

Three-time world snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan says he is "delighted" after his father was released from prison after 18 years.

Ronnie O'Sullivan Snr was jailed for life for murder in 1992 but was freed from prison in Derby on Friday and returned to Essex for a family reunion.

"I am delighted to be reunited with my dad after so long," said O'Sullivan Jr.

"He has repeatedly expressed how sorry he is to the victim's family and to the authorities."

O'Sullivan Sr was jailed for stabbing father-of-two Bruce Bryan when the future world champion was just 16 years old.

During his time in prison, his son has gone from one of the sport's most promising youngsters to arguably its greatest star.

"My dad now wishes to readjust to a world which has changed dramatically since he went to prison," said O'Sullivan Jr.

"He wishes to do that quietly, privately and as a man who is deeply sorry about the circumstances and hurt caused and which led to his imprisonment.

"My dad and I are hopeful that the press and media will respect these sentiments and also that my dad will be allowed the privacy he needs at this time."

In the past, the player known as 'the Rocket' has had a highly-publicised battle with depression, but he said his father being in prison was one of his main motivations to carry on playing.

"We are best mates," said O'Sullivan Jr in 2003.

"A lot of the reasons I continue playing are really about him. It's difficult to turn away because snooker is something that keeps him going."

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