Ronnie O'Sullivan withstood an epic Judd Trump comeback to claim a fifth UK Championship title with a 10-9 victory.
O'Sullivan led from the off and went 5-1 ahead in the first session, before Trump pulled two frames back to stay within touching distance.
He then fell 9-4 behind but a superb revival saw Trump emerge from the brink, making breaks of 120 and 127 to level the contest at 9-9.
But Trump fouled from a snooker in the last allowing O'Sullivan to triumph.
"That is the hardest match I have ever played," O'Sullivan told BBC Sport. "I was going through the motions and accepted I was going to get beaten.
"I didn't know what day it was but I found something towards the end and was able to hold my position."
O'Sullivan - who has now won every UK final in which he has appeared - was the highest-ranked player left in the tournament after the surprise exits of world champion Mark Selby, defending champion Neil Robertson and Chinese number one Ding Junhui.
He broke his ankle while running before the tournament and was in significant discomfort in the early rounds, but the pain seemed to ease as he progressed through each match, compiling a magnificent maximum 147 break in the quarter-final.
The 39-year-old looks to be getting better with age and his success in the competition comes 21 years after winning it for the first time in 1993.
"We've seen two warriors in actions. Ronnie has got
guts and temperament - he showed it all when it was
needed. He's a superhero of our game."
"The fans like him even more at the moment. He's up
against the younger brigade but still taking it to them.
He's the most astonishing player we have ever seen. In
a lifetime I'm not sure we'll see anyone like him again."
Victories in 1993, 1997, 2001, 2007 and 2014
He has now won each of the UK, World and Masters titles on five occasions. His 27th ranking win leaves him one behind Steve Davis and nine behind Hendry in the all-time list.
This match up was billed as two players with attacking and aesthetic styles, and O'Sullivan was running away with it at 9-4 before Trump mounted a brilliant comeback.
But a lack of composure when in amongst the balls early on caused the damage, enabling O'Sullivan to pick him off.
"When your opponent is dishing up every time, it is demoralising and dents your confidence," said Trump.
"Towards the end I let go and I made a good clearance to go 9-9. I felt so relaxed and was waiting for the chance in the last but the good safety won it for him."
The pair met in the Champion of Champions final last month, with O'Sullivan emerging victorious after an outstanding performance in which he made four centuries and their first head-to-head ranking event final turned into a classic.
'The Rocket' was barely at his best yet managed to open up a 5-1 advantage, before Trump clinched the vital seventh and eighth frames to stay in touch.
He could have closed to within a frame but could only muster 48 and 56 in subsequent frames, and instead O'Sullivan's counter-attacking clearances put him 7-3 in front.
Trump pulled one back but O'Sullivan made his first century of the match - the 770th of his career - and took the next to go one away from victory.
World number 11 Trump said ahead of this encounter that he had to play 'perfect' snooker to beat O'Sullivan and remarkably, he found another gear to win five consecutive frames including two centuries and 86 to force a decider.
O'Sullivan had the first chance in the final frame but made only 20. Trump, though, could only respond with 14.
But O'Sullivan's excellent safety laid the platform for a match winning 51 break to lift the trophy and collect the £150,000 prize money, plus £44,000 for his 147.