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[Perspectives] The medicine of Alex Higgins

Alex Higgins died aged 61 years. He had not expected to live so long. The greatest snooker player of his generation, he drank and smoked too much, and rested too little; broke too many hearts, including his own; and lived on the brink of ecstasy or disaster. He gambled with his money, his relationships, and his life. Having survived overdoses, a fall from a second-storey window, and knife and axe attacks, Alex Higgins had the last rites read over him after cancer surgery in 1998. Defying medical opinion, as was his custom, he lived another 12 years.

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