John Spencer, one of snooker's all time greats, died on 11th July 2006 at the age of 71.
Known as Gentleman John for his gracious manner and suave appearance, he was one of snooker’s most popular characters and a key figure in the sport’s history.
Born in Radcliffe, Lancashire, Spencer first played snooker at the age of 15. He won the English Amateur title in 1966 before turning professional.
His first world title came in 1969 and he battled for supremacy throughout the 1970s with Ray Reardon and Alex Higgins as snooker emerged from a phase of obscurity to become one of Britain’s most popular sports.
He won his second world title in 1970 and completed his hat-
Spencer won many other titles including Pot Black three times and the Masters once.
He was very nearly the first player to make a televised 147 -
Spencerto revolutionarise the way snooker was played, notably by being the first player to use a two-
His cue action included an unusually long backswing which gave him immense cue power, and allowed him to develop new shots using screw and side spin which aided the progression to modern break-
Spencer was also a commentator for BBC Sport for many years and had a keen interest in snooker’s administration.
He became a director of the WPBSA and was made chairman in 1990, where he remained for six years.
In the latter days of his playing career, Spencer was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, double-
In the last few years of his life, Spencer and his partner Jean devoted themselves to raising awareness of the condition and money for the Myasthenia Gravis Association.
Last year, he discounted warnings from doctors and took part in a 13,000 feet tandem skydive with the Red Devils, which raised £26,000.
His 2005 autobiography Out Of The Blue And Into The Black details his battle against Myasthenia Gravis as well as his playing career and experiences in snooker. It many entertaining stories which illustrate his love of practical jokes.
Spencer contracted stomach cancer in 2003. After a gruelling cycle of chemotherapy, he decided to stop the treatment and "let nature take its course."
World Snooker chairman Sir Rodney Walker said: "This is a very sad day for snooker. John was one of our greatest ever champions. With his wonderful playing style and charismatic personality, he was a key figure in dragging snooker into the limelight in the 1970s.