Star readers have paid tribute to Mike Watterson - the man who brought the World Snooker Championship to Sheffield – following his death aged 76.
Mr Watterson, a former professional snooker player from Chesterfield famed for taking the game out of small clubs and presenting it to the world via live television coverage, died on Friday night.
Leading lights from the world of snooker have been lining up to recognise him for his contribution to the sport, and readers have also flooded The Star’s Facebook and Twitter page with heartfelt tributes.
Derek Burditt described him as a “lovely man” and added: “RIP Mike. You did a good job with snooker and thanks for taking my two sons when you first started.”
Lee Powell posted: “RIP. You're legacy will go on for years, top man.”
A Twitter user said: “RIP Mike. Sheffield and snooker are forever in your debt.”
Mr Watterson’s great nephew Ryan announced his death on Twitter, describing him as a “lovely man whose influence on the snooker world cannot be overstated.”
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn and World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “Mike made a huge contribution to the history of our sport.
“Without him, the world championship may never have been staged at the Crucible, and he played a vital role in the creation of many other tournaments.
“On behalf of World Snooker and WPBSA we send our condolences to his family at this sad time.”
Known affectionately as Mr Crucible, Mr Watterson is credited for saving snooker – which in 1976 had no venue, no promoter, no sponsors and no organiser – by renting the space and bringing the game to its now famous stage in the city centre for the 1977 championship a year later.
He created another of snooker’s biggest events, the UK Championship, as well as the British Open and the International Open.