Stephen Hendry's retirement from snooker after his exit at the world championship on Tuesday brought an end to a glittering career in which the Briton won a record 32 ranking titles.
The photo taken on April 28, 2012 shows Stephen Hendry waiting for a game with John Higgins. Hendry announced his retirement from professional snooker in a press conference after a 2-13 defeat to Stephen Maguire in the quarterfinals of the World Championship at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield on May 1, 2012. [Xinhua]
After becoming the youngest player to compete in the tournament in 1986 aged 17, Hendry won his first world title four years later when he beat Jimmy White 18-12.
The Scot dominated the game in the 1990s, adding a further six world titles and a host of other tournament victories to his haul. His seventh world title, which set a record, came in 1999 when he beat Mark Williams 18-11.
Viewed by many pundits as the game's greatest-ever player, he will be remembered as a supreme competitor and superb break-builder whose style revolutionised the game.
However, Hendry's form dipped in recent years and he was forced to qualify for this year's world championship.
He made a superb start to the tournament, compiling a maximum 147 break in his first round match against Stuart Bingham on his way to victory.
A comprehensive 13-4 win against defending champion John Higgins followed, leading to suggestions that Hendry might emerge as a surprise contender to win the tournament.
But his hopes of defying the odds were effectively ended when he found himself 7-1 down at the end of the first session in his quarter-final against compatriot Stephen Maguire.
After the 43-year-old Hendry failed to mount a comeback, suffering a 13-2 defeat at the Crucible Theatre, he announced his decision to retire.
"I am officially retired now from tournament snooker," he told reporters. "It was not a spur-of-the-moment thing. I thought about it last year but two or three months ago I just decided enough was enough.
"I didn't tell many people. I only told two or three people, but this is me finished from tournament snooker.
"It was quite an easy decision. There's a few reasons. The schedule didn't help and the fact that I'm not playing the snooker I want to play didn't help. The fact I'm not enjoying practice doesn't help.
"I want to do other things. I've got a lot of commitments now in China, which I've signed up for, and I can't do that and play snooker because I would never be at home.
"I'm delighted I made a maximum here, that's why I was more animated than normal when making it. I was delighted to do it on my last appearance here."
Hendry, who won his final full ranking title in 2005 when he lifted the Malta Cup, banked about 9 million pounds ($14.60 million) in prize money.
When it was clear that he was no longer a serious contender to win major tournaments, Hendry decided it was time to bow out.
It was fitting that he made his farewell appearance at the Crucible - scene of some of his greatest triumphs.