Jimmy White isn't at the Crucible this year, indeed it remains to be seen whether he will ever play there again in the World Championship.
But for many he is synonymous with the event, for the drama and rollercoaster ride he gave his many fans for the best part of two decades.
White turned 50 today. It doesn't seem that long since he was the pale-faced kid with a shot-making genius which rivalled that of his great friend Alex Higgins and the common touch which made him effortlessly popular with a generation of snooker fans.
The teenage White bunked off school to play snooker and his head teacher eventually condoned his truancy on the basis that at least he knew where he was.
White's talent was obvious and he became English amateur champion at 16 and world amateur champion at 18.
In his first season as a professional in 1981 he qualified for the Crucible, losing only 10-8 to Steve Davis.
The following year he played what remains one of the Crucible's greatest ever matches, poised for a place in the final at the age of 20 when he led Alex Higgins 15-14 and 59-0.
But Higgins produced a miracle match saving clearance and won the decider too to deny White.
Many felt it would only be a matter of time until the man nicknamed the Whirlwind won the biggest title of them all but it wasn't to be.
He came back strongly from 12-4 down to Davis in the 1984 final but was beaten 18-16.
It took White six years to reach another world final where the ultra attacking game he had pioneered and Stephen Hendry taken to another level was apparent by the speed of their match - average frame time 12 minutes.
Hendry won that one 18-12. In 1992 he came from 14-8 down to beat White 18-14. In 1993 he drubbed him 18-5 with a session to spare.
Then in 1994, the biggest sickener of all, when White snatched at a black at 17-17. Hendry, of course, cleared up again.
White had also lost to John Parrott 18-11 in 1991. There were to be no more finals, although he did gain a satisfying 10-4 first round victory over Hendry in 1998.
It would be wrong to define White purely by his six world final defeats.
He won the Masters in 1984. He was UK champion in 1992. He made a Crucible 147 earlier that year.
He won ten world ranking titles, including the 2004 Players Championship at the age of 41.
But more than all of that, he provided his vast array of supporters with an emotional connection to snooker. It wasn't about pure results, it was about the journey. It was about Jimmy.
White would never claim to have been a model professional. He had those essential flaws associated with the truly gifted. Maybe if he could he would go back in time and change the way he prepared for tournaments. But he can't. All he can do is look forward, and he does because he isn't finished with snooker yet.
He is still very popular on the exhibition circuit and of course he is still playing on the main tour. He practises hard and still loves the game as much as ever.
Snooker should raise a glass to Jimmy White on his 50th birthday. He remains one of the game's greatest characters: an irrepressible working class hero whose tumultuous thrill-ride through the decades has kept many a fan coming back for more.