October 14, 1978 - October 9, 2006: Age 28
Paul Hunter was an international snooker champion whose good looks and popularity earned him comparisons with David Beckham. He showed promise at a very young age, and by his early 20s had gained world attention by beating higher ranked and more experienced players in national tournaments. His high point came in 2004 with his third Masters win in 4 years. "Masters" is one of the most prestigious international snooker competitions.
Toward the end of that year he began to feel pains in his side. In early 2005 an abdominal scan showed several cysts, which subsequent biopsy proved to be tumours caused by a rare form of stomach cancer. Two days before the start of chemotherapy, he and his wife found out that she was pregnant. Their baby was born December 26, a blessing after a painful year of chemotherapy and uncertainty.
By January it was clear that the chemotherapy wasn't working any more, although the doctors continued to try. By the end of the summer he was dying. In early October he was admitted to a hospice where, 5 days before his 29th birthday, he died, surrounded by his family. His wife Lindsay wrote, "No one cried. There was this spooky calm. I carefully removed his diamond stud earring. I'd been wearing the other one of the pair since the day he went into hospital. I also put on the white dressing gown he'd been wearing for the past few months because it still smelled of him."
Sources: Wikipedia, Daily Mail article by Lindsay Hunter