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New Zealand snooker legend Dene O’Kane has passed away at the age of 61. O’Kane was a prominent figure in the snooker world during the sport’s boom period in the 1980s. He achieved great success in his career, reaching the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship in 1987 and 1992. Additionally, O’Kane won two Australian Opens and three World Masters Championships as an amateur, establishing himself as a top competitor in the game.

After retiring from professional snooker in 2007, O’Kane transitioned to a career in real estate. However, he continued to be involved in the sport, competing in matches on the seniors circuit alongside other former world champions such as Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Cliff Thorburn, and Dennis Taylor. O’Kane also came close to winning a major professional event in 1989 when he reached the final of the Hong Kong Open, narrowly losing 9-8 to Mike Hallett. His contributions to snooker were remembered by former world No. 3 and Eurosport commentator Neal Foulds, who praised O’Kane as “one of the good guys” with a “touch of class.”

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, expressed his deep sadness at the passing of O’Kane, describing him as a “massive character” who was full of life and stories. Ferguson admired O’Kane’s resilience and determination to succeed as a professional player, especially considering the challenges of moving from New Zealand to the highly competitive snooker circuit in the UK. O’Kane’s impact on the sport was significant, and Ferguson thanked him for his contributions and the time he spent with the snooker community.

The news of O’Kane’s passing has shocked and saddened the snooker world, with many players, fans, and officials paying tribute to his legacy. O’Kane’s friendly demeanor, talent, and achievements on the snooker table left a lasting impression on those who knew him. His passing serves as a reminder of the enduring impact of players like O’Kane who have made significant contributions to the sport of snooker. The loss of such a beloved figure in the snooker community has left a void that will be deeply felt by all who knew and admired O’Kane.

As the snooker community mourns the loss of O’Kane, his memory and contributions to the sport will be cherished and celebrated. His success as a player, his dedication to the game, and his positive influence on those around him will be remembered fondly by all who had the privilege of knowing him. O’Kane’s legacy will live on in the hearts of snooker enthusiasts worldwide, serving as a reminder of the passion, talent, and camaraderie that define the sport. May he rest in peace, knowing that his impact on the snooker world will never be forgotten.

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