In the final he overwhelmed England's 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy 18-9.
Neil Robertson (Australia) and Mark Allen (Northern Ireland) lost out in the semifinals.
Higgins received £250,000 for the victory and Murphy got £125,000 for his runner-up spot.
Stephen Hendry (England) won the £157,000 high break bonus after compiling his ninth career maximum break, and second at the Crucible. It was the ninth 147 made in the world championship. In total there were a record 83 centuries in this year's event.
Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan (England) lost 13-11 to Allen in the second round. The last player to successfully defend his world title was Hendry in 1996.
This was the third world title for Higgins, having also lifted the trophy in 1998 and 2007. It was his second ranking title of the season and 20th of his career.
With this win Higgins will improve from fifth to fourth in the new world rankings. Murphy will keep his third place from last season.
O'Sullivan and Stephen Maguire (Scotland) will still be Nos 1 and 2. Graeme Dott is the only player to drop out of the top 16. Mark J Williams regains the spot he lost last year.
The event took place Apr 18 - May 4, 2009 at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, England. It was the last of eight ranking tournaments on the 2008/2009 Main Tour.
- World Championship 2009 (World Snooker)
- John Higgins destroys Shaun Murphy to take third world snooker title (Times Online)
- Higgins earns third world crown (BBC)
- Higgins wins third world title (Eurosport)
- Higgins Joins Snooker Greats (Sporting Life)
- World Professional Snooker Championship 2009 (Global Snooker)
- John Higgins: World Champion (Snooker Scene blog)
- Betfred.com World Championship 2009: Tournament Round-up (Pro Snooker Blog)
- World Championship Qualifier Preview. (Fergal O'Brien)
- SnookerManager: World Championship 2009
- World Snooker Championship 2009 (Wikipedia)
- World Snooker Championship (Wikipedia)
- John Higgins (Wikipedia)
- Dott is new world snooker champion (2006 World Championship)
- John Higgins wins the Snooker World Championship - again (2007 World Championship)
- Ronnie O'Sullivan wins third World Snooker Championship (2008 World Championship)
- It's Ronnie again in the Northern Ireland Trophy (2008/2009 Main Tour)
- Walden strikes gold in Shanghai Masters (2008/2009 Main Tour)
- John Higgins captures Grand Prix (2008/2009 Main Tour)
- It's three out of three for Neil Robertson with Bahrain Championship win (2008/2009 Main Tour)
- Shaun Murphy wins 2008 UK Championship (2008/2009 Main Tour)
- O'Sullivan wins fourth Masters (2008/2009 Main Tour)
- Allister Carter bags first ranking win in the 2009 Welsh Open (2008/2009 Main Tour)
- Ebdon returns to winner's circle in 2009 China Open (2008/2009 Main Tour)