AN AUTHOR from North Yorkshire has written a major new biography about the life of tragic figure skater John Curry.

Bill Jones, of Ampleforth, whose writing career began when he worked at The Press in the 1970s, says the skater's life story is 'haunting and gripping.'

Curry, who died of AIDS in 1994, had won the Olympic, World, and European figure skating titles in two incredible months in 1976, when a TV audience of 20 million was hooked by his grace and he was subsequently awarded the OBE and named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

"In the years which followed, he struggled to launch a bold new theatre on ice, but his tortured, complex personality - complicated, at times, by his homosexuality - often led to bitter disappointment, and financial disaster," he said.

"When he died he was virtually penniless and living in his mother's bungalow in Warwickshire. Remarkably Curry's mum Rita, is happily on her way to her 101st birthday.

"John's father committed suicide when his son was very young, and there's a darkness which runs right through John's story alongside his courage and genius."

He said the book, 'ALONE - The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry', which will be published by Bloomsbury on Thursday, July 31, had taken him almost three years to research and write.

His previous biography - The Ghost Runner - won The Times Best New Writer 2012, and was short-listed for the William Hill Sports Book Awards, and it is also in development as a possible feature film.

Bill said he had learned all of a writer's most important tools when he was working as a reporter in York, at the then Yorkshire Evening Press.

"My news editor was a chap called Chris Brayne and he taught me both the value of fact-checking and the key elements of story-telling even though, at times, I was a pretty dense pupil".