New Zealand's greatest snooker player Dene O'Kane dies aged 61 ...

26 days ago

ByEurosport

Published 15/05/2024 at 13:45 GMT

New Zealand snooker icon Dene O'Kane has died at the age of 61.

Dene O'Kane - Figure 1
Photo Eurosport.com ASIA

The two-time World Snooker Championship quarter-finalist and former world No. 18 was a familiar face in the UK during snooker's 1980s boom period and reached the last eight at the Crucible Theatre in 1987 and 1992.

He had been working in real estate since 2007, but recently played a number of matches on the seniors circuit alongside former world champions Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Cliff Thorburn and Dennis Taylor.

The 10-time New Zealand national champion also won two Australian Opens and three World Masters Championships as an amateur.

He came close to lifting a major professional event in 1989 when he led Mike Hallett 8-6 in the Hong Kong Open final before losing 9-8.

Former world No. 3 and Eurosport commentator Neal Foulds wrote on X: "I’m waking up to the awfully sad news of the passing of Dene O’Kane. One of the good guys.

"When he came over from NZ in 1980 for Junior Pot Black he was immediately different from the rest of us in a good way. Always had a touch of class about him. Rest in peace Deno."

World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association chairman Jason Ferguson said: "Dene was a massive character. He was interesting, full of life and full of stories.

"When I joined the tour, he was a player up in the rankings that I had a great amount of respect for. I was fortunate to know him for a long time and kept in touch with him in his latter years. We have always shared a joke and a chat and I'm deeply saddened.

"The sport has lost a huge personality. I want to thank him for the time he spent with us and the contribution he made. Never underestimate how hard it must have been to move from New Zealand and make it in the professional ranks. That is a testament to the character of the man."

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