The world of darts is in mourning following the news that former BDO world champion Andy Fordham passed away on Thursday, aged 59.
Fordham was one of the sport’s most popular figures and the highlight of his career saw him triumph at the 2004 BDO World Championship, defeating five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld in the semi-finals, before overcoming Mervyn King 6-3 to achieve his darting destiny.
‘The Viking’ subsequently took on Phil Taylor in The Showdown at the Circus Tavern in November 2004, although he was forced to retire from the contest at 5-2 adrift in their best-of-13 set game.
However, Fordham also enjoyed tremendous success prior to his Lakeside triumph, lifting the 1999 World Masters title and scooping a dozen ranking titles on the BDO & WDF circuit.
He later competed on the PDC Pro Tour in 2009 and 2010 and he made a sensational return to the sport at the 2015 Grand Slam of Darts, coming through qualification and registering victory over Wayne Jones in the group stage – his first televised win in just over a decade.
He received a rapturous reception ahead of his opening group game against Adrian Lewis, where he kicked off proceedings with a maximum, to the delight of the capacity crowd at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall.
‘The Viking’ had suffered from health issues in recent years and in January tested positive for coronavirus, having been hospitalised in February last year after having an operation on his bowel.
However, Fordham was due to make a darting comeback at next year’s World Seniors Darts Championship along with a host of former world champions including Phil Taylor, John Lowe, John Part and Martin Adams.
“Andy was one of the most recognisable players worldwide throughout his career and extremely popular around the world,” said PDC President Barry Hearn.
“His 2004 win at Lakeside will always be remembered as the greatest moment of Andy’s career, and we also knew how much it meant to him when he qualified for the Grand Slam a decade later.
“He was a great personality and a lovely man, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”