Tributes have been paid to Andy Fordham, the popular darts player and 2004 BDO world champion, who has died at the age of 59.
“Just heard the devastating news that Andy Fordham has passed away,” former darts player Bobby George wrote on Twitter. “He was a gentle giant and loved by all. Our condolences go out to his wife Jenny, family and friends. RIP Andy Fordham, the Viking.”
“Sad to hear the passing of a legend, Andy Fordham. Our thoughts are with his family,” wrote the two-time PDC world champion, Adrian Lewis. “Such sad news that Andy Fordham has died,” said the 2018 PDC world champion, Rob Cross. “A true legend and gentleman of the sport. My thoughts are with his family and friends.”
Fordham, nicknamed “the Viking”, was a much-loved figure on the BDO darts circuit following his breakthrough appearance in 1995. Having lost four world championship semi-finals at Lakeside, he won the title in 2004 with a 6-3 final victory over Mervyn King.
In November of that year, Fordham was forced to withdraw from a pay-per-view match with the PDC world champion, Phil Taylor after feeling unwell on stage. Hy suffered a stroke in 2007 after collapsing before his opening match at the world championships.
Fordham focused on tackling his health problems and made only occasional appearances in the following decade, but made a memorable comeback at the 2015 Grand Slam of Darts, where he won his first televised match for 10 jare.
Darts News reported that Fordham died on Thursday morning. He had continued to struggle with poor health in recent years, going into hospital in March 2020 with a bowel problem and then testing positive for coronavirus in early 2021.