JIMMY WHITE has led tributes to former Masters and two-time UK Champion Doug Mountjoy, who has died aged 78.
Popular Mountjoy was one of the key figures of the snooker scene during the sport’s heyday of the 1970s and 1980s.
The Welshman reached the 1981 world championship final at the crucible but lost 18-12 to Steve Davis at the start of his baize dominance.
Whirlwind White, 58, said: “Sorry to hear about the loss of a great friend of the sport. RIP Doug Mountjoy.”
The announcing of Mountjoy’s passing has come on the eve of the BetVictor Welsh Open, which begins on Monday at Newport’s Celtic Manor.
The Glamorgan-born star, who reached a high of five in the world, beat fellow countryman Ray Reardon 7-6 in the 1977 Masters in London.
He won two UK Championships, the second title coming in 1988 when he beat a young Stephen Hendry 16-12 in Preston at the record age of 46.
Mountjoy suffered some of life’s toughest breaks – he had a cancerous lung removed, which was followed by financial ruin, bankruptcy and his home being repossessed.
Former world champion Ken Doherty said: “Very sorry to hear of the passing of Doug Mountjoy. He was a great player and character.”
World No7 Shaun Murphy said: “Sad to hear the passing of Doug Mountjoy. One of snooker’s most memorable faces from the golden age.”
Snooker boss Barry Hearn added: "RIP Doug Mountjoy. A gentleman and a really nice guy.
"I remember playing him at the Eccentric Club in St James just after he won the world amateur championship in 1977.
"He never missed a ball in over an hour and got invited into the Masters when Eddie Charlton pulled out.
"I had my first ever snooker bet on him, £40 each way at 33/1. He beat Ray Reardon 7-6!"
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