Professional snooker player Ali Carter has been diagnosed with lung cancer and will undergo a course of chemotherapy, it has been announced.
The 34-year-old and world number 13, from Chelmsford, Essex, has Crohn's disease and had successful treatment for testicular cancer last summer, before going on to play the majority of this year's snooker season.
He played at the recent World Championship in Sheffield where he lost to eventual tournament winner Mark Selby in the second round.
World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association chairman Jason Ferguson said: "Ali is the toughest competitor I know and having spoken to him over the last few days I can assure everyone he has the fight to get through the battle ahead.
"I know that the world will be looking forward to Ali returning to action and I am sure that all of our friends, fans and partners will join with me in wishing Ali a full recovery."
The two-time World Championship runner-up was due to play in the Wuxi Classic qualifiers in Gloucester this weekend, but has withdrawn from the event.
A professional since 1996, Carter is currently ranked 13th in the world and has been as high as number two in his career. He is a three-time ranking tournament winner, having landed titles at the 2009 Welsh Open, 2010 Shanghai Masters and 2013 German Masters but lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan in each of his Crucible finals, in 2008 and 2012.
Fellow professional snookers players including Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy have tweeted messages of support. Mark Selby said in a post on his Facebook page: "Gutted to hear the news about Ali Carter. My thoughts go out to him and his family at this tough time. Knowing how strong Ali is as a person I know he will get through this."