Former world champion Peter Ebdon has retired from professional snooker due to injury.
The 49-year-old has opted to end his career rather than have spinal surgery after suffering from neck, back, shoulder and arm pain.
Ebdon won the 2002 World Championship, beating Stephen Hendry in a 18-17 thriller, and also reached the 1996 and 2006 finals.
He won eight other ranking events, including the 2006 UK Championship, during 29 years on the circuit.
Ebdon told World Championship sponsor Betfred: “I had an MRI scan about seven weeks ago which picked up significant wear and tear in my neck. There is serious deterioration in some of the vertebrae and I have been in pain since Christmas.
“Two of the vertebrae need to be replaced, which is not an operation I want to have because if it went wrong I could be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
“It’s far too risky. The professor explained to me that it wouldn’t be a cure. It could work, but it could make things worse and I would probably need to have it again in 10 years.”
Current world champion Judd Trump tweeted: “Happy retirement to @pdebdon what a fantastic career… Also learn a lot from playing him in my early career and he loved to take on some crazy shots at times which I have a lot of respect for lol.”
Barry Hearn, chairman of World Snooker Tour, congratulated Ebdon on his “wonderful” career.
Hearn wrote on Twitter: “Heard the news of your retirement and I just wanted to say thank you for your services to snooker and congratulate you on a wonderful professional career. Good luck for the future.”