We are sad to report that five-time world darts champion Eric Bristow has died at the age of 60 following a heart attack.
The darting legend was ranked world number one by the Worlds Darts Federation a record six times. Bristow was a five time World Champion, a five time World Masters Champion and a four time World Cup singles champion.
It was during the 1980s that Bristow’s skill and personality helped turn this pub sport into a worldwide spectator sport. In 1993, Bristow, along with sixteen other top players, parted ways with the British Darts Organisation to form their own organisation, which became the Professional Darts Corporation.
The news of Bristow’s death was announced by the Corporation this evening. He retired from professional darts in 2007 but has remained a popular figure on the exhibition circuit.
PDC chairman Barry Hearn said: “Eric will always be a legend in the world of darts and British sport.”
“He was a tremendous player and a huge character and even after his retirement fans would travel for miles to meet him and see him play.”
It is with great sadness that we bring you the news that five-time World Champion Eric Bristow has passed away, aged 60.
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) April 5, 2018
The chairman goes on to say: “Eric was never afraid of controversy, but he spoke as he found and was honest and straightforward which is what people admired about him.
“The PDC, and the sport of darts, will miss him.”
In 2005, the legend was inducted into the PDC hall of fame in 2005 alongside rival John Lowe.
A statement on the PDC website reads:
“The Professional Darts Corporation is deeply saddened to announce that five-time World Champion Eric Bristow MBE passed away on Thursday evening following a heart attack.”
In 1989, he married Jane Bristow with whom he had two children, Louise in 1991 and James in 1993.
Reaction has been coming thick and fast on Twitter. Celebrities and friends alike have been using the platform to remember the darting great.
Shocked and saddened to hear the news about a true legend of the sport I love.
RIP Eric Bristow. Thanks for everything you did for darts.
Thoughts are with Eric's family and friends.
— Simon Whitlock (@SWhitlock180) April 5, 2018
What a sad day for darts, one of my best friends passed away tonight, played pairs with him in a Norway back in 1990 and called at many a show over the last 20 odd years with the LEGEND Eric Bristow..RIP pal😢😢
— Russ Bray (@Russ180) April 5, 2018
Such sad news, RIP Eric Bristow, I grew up watching you be the best !! My thoughts go out, RIP true legend of darts 🎯🎯😥
— Wez Newton (@Warrior180) April 5, 2018
As well as darts, Eric also took part in ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here,’ back in 2012. He just missed out on a place in the final.
Bristow told Ant and Dec after he’d said his goodbyes to Charlie Brooks, David Haye and Ashley Roberts: ‘It’s great I’m out… but I would have liked to make the last three.’
But he then reflected on it and added: ‘I think it’s right the three young’uns are there, it’s worked out well.’
But Bristow wasn’t without his controversy! In 2016, Sky Sports dropped Eric as a pundit after he made hugely controversial comments about the victims of the English football sexual abuse scandal.
It was after more than than 20 ex-footballers waived their right to anonymity and came forward to make allegations of child sexual abuse by coaches.
“Might be a looney, but if some football coach was touching me when I was a kid as I got older, I would have went back and sorted that poof out,” the star wrote on Twitter before saying “Sorry, meant paedo not poof.
“Bet the rugby boys are OK ha ha… U got to sought him out when U get older or don’t look in the mirror. Glad I am a dart player, proper men.”
Bristow later went on to make several TV appearances to apologise about his comments.
Thoughts are with Bristow’s family at this difficult time. RIP to a sporting legend.