Paul's cancer shock hit us hard

MARK Williams today hailed Paul Hunter as one of the nicest people in snooker and backed him to come through his cancer nightmare.Hunter, 26, stunned the sport last night by announcing he had cancer of the colon.

MARK Williams today hailed Paul Hunter as one of the nicest people in snooker and backed him to come through his cancer nightmare.

Hunter, 26, stunned the sport last night by announcing he had cancer of the colon.

Williams, twice world champion, said: “No one can believe the news.

“He is one of the better people you can meet and it is so sad to hear of things like that.


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“Paul will get a lot of support from everyone because he is one of the most well-liked people around the circuit.

“I've known him for a long time and always got on well with him and liked the way he plays the game. He is one of the strongest characters around.

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“We are all sad about the news. It is sickening and absolutely scary.”

Hunter has withdrawn from tonight's round of the Betfred.com Premier League to be held at the Corn Exchange in Ipswich. The event, sponsored by The Evening Star, will still go ahead.

Williams, who was already scheduled to play tonight, will now be in action twice instead of once.

The 30-year-old Welshman will first play Marco Fu, Hunter's original opponent and will then meet world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the second match as planned.

Hunter withdrew from one of the earlier rounds of the Premier League because he had to go to hospital with stomach pains.

He later announced that six cysts had been discovered in his colon and subsequent

investigations have revealed the cancer.

A statement from World Snooker, the sport's governing body, said: “Paul will undergo treatment to cure himself.

“He would like to reassure his fans that as with his snooker career he is tenacious and positive in his fight.”

Hunter, ranked the fourth best player in the world, will have more tests during and after the World Championships, which start on April 16.

He will still play in that competition, the highlight of the snooker calendar.

A spokesman for Matchroom Sport, the company which organises the Premier League, said: “The thoughts of everybody connected with the league, the players, the officials and everyone who knows him, are with Paul.

“He has played in the event for a couple of years and is a nice fellow who always has a smile on his face.

“He is a happy-go-lucky guy and it is a big blow but he is fit and young and I'm sure he will fight it.

“The fans in Ipswich, instead of seeing four players are only going to see three.

“But the standard of the snooker and format is quite exciting and hopefully it will be like that tonight.”

The first match will start at 7pm. The second contest is scheduled to start at 8.45pm. The event is sold out but the matches will be screened live on Sky Sports 1.

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