Barry Hearn will be recalled as the figure who "transformed" snooker and led it out of the darkness, according to former Masters winner Mark Allen.
Hearn, 72, is retiring as World Snooker Tour chairman at the conclusion of the World Championship after a successful 11-year spell in charge with ranking events increasing from only six in 2009/10 to 17 in 2019/20 and overall prize money of £16.431m.
- All-time top 10: Who does Barry Hearn rate as the greatest players in snooker history?
- World Championship LIVE – Williams, Selby take to the baize, Trump back in action
How many cases of Covid-19 did the Crucible record?
Hearn's colleague Steve Dawson succeeds him at the helm of WST with his son Eddie Hearn replacing him as chairman of Matchroom Sport.
“Barry will be sadly missed because he has transformed snooker,” said world number 13 Allen after completing a 10-2 drubbing of Lyu Haotian in the World Championship first round.
Allen praises Hearn for snooker revolution
“Before he took over it was dark times, with six or seven tournaments a year, now we’ll have 25 once we get back to normal.
He has added a lot of big events to the calendar. He is a workaholic and I’m sure he won’t stop working behind the scenes.
“Pretty much everything he’s touched has turned to gold. Where we were in 2010, we didn’t even feel like snooker players, and now we’re complaining we’re overworked – it’s been an amazing turnaround.
'Comprehensive victory' - Allen cruises into second round at Crucible
“What they’ve done in this Covid year has been phenomenal, miles above any other sport and that’s testament to Barry and his team.”
- - -
You can watch every match of the World Championship live and ad-free on the Eurosport App and eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app now for iOS and Android.
'A bit hurtful' - Selby taken aback by Bingham 'gamesmanship' comment
Why Selby’s unapologetic pursuit of greatness gives snooker headache