Snooker legend and former Strictly Come Dancing star Willie Thorne has announced he has leukaemia and is due to start receiving chemotherapy.
The 66-year-old, who was on the fifth series of the BBC dancing competition, told his fans about his diagnosis on Twitter.
He tweeted on Wednesday (March 18): "I realise everybody is having a tough time, mine's just got worse. I've been diagnosed with leukaemia."
Writing further, Willie said he is "devastated" and is set to start treatment tomorrow.
"I'm devastated," he tweeted. "Start chemotherapy tomorrow. I'm in Spain where the health care is hopefully second to none. Love to you all. Willie x."
Messages of support poured in from the snooker legend's fans.
One said: "Sorry to hear that, Willie. Met you a few times. You are a positive person so please retain that mindset!"
Another wrote: "All the very best Willie."
A third tweeted to the star: "So sorry to hear this WT, keep punching."
We're all thinking of you, much love.
Someone else said, alongside a crying emoji: "Get well soon Willie. Legend."
A fifth replied: "Willie, so sorry to read this news. My thoughts and prayers with you and your family."
"Hang in there buddy," said a sixth. "We're all thinking of you, much love."
Sorry to hear that Willie. Met you a few times. You are a positive person so please retain that mindset! 👍👍
— Lord Jason Guy (@wolvespremier) March 18, 2020
All the very best Wille
— Glen Durrant (@Duzza180) March 18, 2020
So sorry to hear this WT, keep punching.
— snookerbacker 🗣️ (@snookerbacker) March 18, 2020
Get well soon Willie 😢 - legend
— Henry Irving (@HenryIrving10) March 18, 2020
Willie, so sorry to read this news. My thoughts and prayers with you and your family.
— William Caulfield (@wcaulfieldcomic) March 18, 2020
Hang in there buddy we’re all thinking of you, much love ❤️
— Conor Gibney (@ConorGibney) March 18, 2020
Those receiving treatment like chemotherapy are at a heightened risk from the deadly COVID-19, which is understood to be more of a threat to anyone with a weaker immune system.
There are a number of underlying health conditions that put people at an increased level of risk in the outbreak, including diabetes, cancer, heart issues and asthma.
Willie won only one ranking title in his 26-year career, but in recent years he has been a regular voice in the BBC's snooker commentary.
He was on Strictly in 2007, when he was partnered with pro dancer Erin Boag. The pair got to week three before being eliminated from the competition.
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