Paul Alan Hunter (14 October 1978 – 9 October 2006) was a professional snooker player from England. He was a three-time Masters champion, winning the championship in 2001, 2002, and 2004, all three times coming back from losing in the final to win 10-9.
He also won three ranking incidents: the Welsh Open in 1998 and 2002, as well as the British Open in 2002. Hunter married Lindsey Fell, a beauty therapist, in Jamaica in August 2004.
Paul Hunter Remembered ‘the Beckham of the Baize’s’ Death
In a brief burst of color across the green baize, Paul Hunter, the “Beckham of the Baize,” left an indelible mark on snooker.
His friend Matthew Stevens recalls the laid-back character and great talent that Hunter had, reflecting on their chats and laughs.
Hunter’s three Masters victories at Wembley in the early 2000s, including legendary comebacks from five frames down, marked him as a superstar, earning him the affectionate title “Beckham of the Baize.”
The tragic turn of events left Snooker without a rising star and Hunter’s daughter, Evie Rose, without her daddy.
The snooker community, led by Alex Higgins, Jimmy White, and Ronnie O’Sullivan, mourned his passing, remembering the young Leeds lad who injected a modern buzz into the game.
White, who witnessed the heart-wrenching occasion at Leeds Parish Church, acknowledged Hunter’s pivotal role in bringing snooker into the contemporary era.
What happened to Paul Hunter?
In a tragic turn of events, the charismatic Yorkshireman and three-time Masters champion, Paul Hunter, has lost his battle with cancer at the tender age of 27.
Diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumors in April 2005, Hunter’s spirited fight, marked by multiple courses of chemotherapy, came to an end at Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield.
Hunter’s magnetic personality and popularity within the snooker community drew immediate tributes, with Stephen Hendry expressing devastation over the loss.
Leaving school at 14 to pursue snooker, Hunter burst onto the scene in 2001, clinching the first of his three Benson & Hedges Masters titles with a memorable comeback, humorously attributed to “Plan B,” an intimate interval encounter with his fiancée.
As neuroendocrine tumors took a toll on his snooker career, Hunter’s ranking plummeted, and he sought dispensation to sit out a season.
Hunter’s untimely demise serves as a poignant reminder of life’s fragility and the unpredictable journey each of us navigates, leaving the snooker world in mourning for a talent gone too soon.
On this Poignant Anniversary, Ronnie O’Sullivan Pays Tribute to Paul Hunter
On the anniversary of Paul Hunter’s third Masters triumph, snooker master Ronnie O’Sullivan paid homage to the “Beckham of the Baize,” remembering the late star’s undeniable talent and magnetic charm.
Hunter’s three dramatic victories between 2001 and 2004, each decided in nail-biting 10-9 encounters, left an indelible mark on the sport.
O’Sullivan, often the runner-up in these epic clashes, reflected on Hunter’s star power, likening him to football icon David Beckham.
The snooker world, according to O’Sullivan, witnessed a peak during the mid-noughties, with luminaries like Hunter, Mark Williams, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, and Matthew Stevens elevating the game to unprecedented heights.
As the snooker community commemorates Hunter’s achievements, the absence of the charismatic star is deeply felt.
While reminiscing about attending champions’ events, former champion Alan Mcmanus expressed a wish for similar gatherings, lamenting the void left by Hunter’s absence.