Last updated at 1:37 AM on 20th May 2010
Alex Higgins is so weak now he can barely lift a cue.
But somehow the snooker legend, looking shockingly thin, found the strength to attend a charity party in his honour.
‘Hurricane Higgins’ has been battling throat cancer for almost a decade and radiotherapy has caused him to lose all of his teeth, leaving him struggling to eat properly.
Frail figure: Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins, pictured in
Manchester yesterday, has been surviving on baby food after losing his teeth as
a result of radiotherapy
Stars from the sport including Jimmy White, 47, John Virgo, 63, and Tony Knowles, 54, joined a frail Higgins at a restaurant to raise £20,000 to pay for crucial surgery.
Other guests at the Yang Sing Chinese restaurant included Coronation Street
actors Ryan Thomas and Jack Shepherd, former X Factor contestant Rowetta
Satchell and Page 3 model Rhian Sugden.
Higgins needs teeth implants after losing so much weight he can hardly lift a snooker cue.
Guests were forced to do a double take when they saw him enter the function
room after placing a bet at a nearby bookies.
Snooker legends: Jimmy White, John Virgo and Tony
Knowles joined Higgins at Yang Sing restaurant to raise money for his
Supporting the cause: Page 3 model Rhian Sugden, famous for her text liaison with Vernon Kay, and former X Factor contestant Rowetta Satchell also appeared
One guest said: 'We knew Alex had been going through a hard time and had been poorly but we were still shocked by his appearance.
At the top of his game: The two-time world champion
in his heyday
'He looked absolutely skeletal and it was clear he had not eaten a square meal in many months. It was such a tragedy to see him alongside all the other snooker legends who looked so fit and well.'
It is estimated that Higgins earned and mostly spent a £3million fortune over 20 years in the sport.
His former PA, Will Robinson, said: 'We are desperately trying to raise £20,000 for teeth implants, which his dentist insists will help him eat properly again.
'Alex is living in a tiny flat in Belfast and has been living off baby food for years. It's so sad. Unless we do something he could be facing death.'
Higgins has also had to undergo two throat operations and can only talk in a faint whisper.
Will added: 'He's still loved by many and we're hoping people will remember what he brought to the sport. It would be amazing if he could get better and, who knows, one day made it back to the table.'
Earlier this year the snooker star was rushed to hospital suffering from pneumonia and breathing problems.
Visit to the bookies: Higgins stopped in at a
betting store before the fundraiser
Keeping his spirits high: He raised a smile as he
left the bookies with Jimmy White (left)
Higgins has been in remission from throat cancer for almost a decade, but has become increasingly frail in recent times.
He currently lives in sheltered housing on the Donegall Road in Belfast and has suffered long-term problems with alcohol and smoking since winning the world snooker titles.
Regarded by many as one of the finest and most flamboyant players of all
time, Higgins has been involved in numerous fights and rows with snooker
He entered the Northern Ireland Amateur Championship last year, but failed to
appear for his first game.
Higgins was married twice and has a son and a daughter with ex-wife Lynn.
Career highlight: Higgins with his then wife Lynn and daughter Lauren after he won the world professional snooker championship in 1982