Six-time World Championship finalist Jimmy White has told of his battle with crack cocaine addiction.
The ’Whirlwind’, 52, became a huge fans’ favourite in the 1980s and 90s, reaching the Crucible final in 1984 and in every year from 1990 to 1994 but losing on each occasion – four of those to Stephen Hendry.
White, though, was hiding a drug habit which cost him up to £10,000 (€12,700) a month, moving from cocaine to its stronger form.
White, who told The Sun “I’m lucky to be alive” and admitted drugs “probably cost me 10 world titles”, told of smoking crack with his close friend and fellow player Kirk Stevens in a hotel room at the Irish Masters.
He wrote in his new autobiography Second Wind, serialised in the same newspaper: “Jimmy White... snooker hero... people’s champion... crack addict. Sounds far-fetched, doesn’t it? But for about three crazy months it was true.
“I think Kirk tried it first but I’m my own man and I don’t blame anyone else for making me do something as stupid as smoking crack. The blame for that lies at my door only.”
White admitted he had “frittered away” most of the prize money from his illustrious career, during which he has won 23 professional titles including the 1984 Masters, the 1992 UK Championship and two Grand Prix crowns.
Recalling the financial cost of his habit, he wrote: “I had one sneaky account with NatWest. I started dipping into this every now and then to fund my crack habit.
“I did the lot in less than three months. Every penny.”