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Darts legend Andy Fordham dies aged 59

Jamie Shaw in Off The Oche 16 Jul 2021
Andy Fordham (1962-2021) (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Former World Darts Champion Andy Fordham has passed away at the age of 59.

Fordham was one of the sport’s most recognisable faces over a period of two decades and his greatest triumph saw him claim the Lakeside crown in 2004.

Having also won the BDO World Masters in 1999, Fordham was a regular in the latter stages of major tournaments and made 12 World Championship appearances between 1995 and 2006.

In November 2004, Fordham faced Phil Taylor in an historic Β£100,000 show-down, the first (and to date only) darts match ever to be broadcast on a pay-per-view channel.

Midway through their best-of-13-set match at The Circus Tavern, Fordham left the stage after taking unwell and was forced to withdraw, handing PDC World Champion Taylor the win.

Following medical tests, it was revealed Fordham’s liver was operating at only 25% capacity as a result of long term alcohol damage.

Fordham gave up alcohol and underwent an exercise regime in a bid to lose weight, and by 2007 he had lost an astonishing 15 stone.

He joined the PDC in 2009 and featured in multiple floor events until 2011, taking a two-year break before re-joining the BDO in 2013.

In 2015, ‘The Viking’ sensationally came through a field of 200 at the BDO qualifiers to reach the Grand Slam of Darts – where he finished third in his group after beating Wayne Jones and losing out to Adrian Lewis and Michael Smith.

Fordham’s last appearance in a major televised event came at the 2017 BDO World Trophy – where he was beaten by Glen Durrant in Round Two.

In March 2020, he was hospitalised with a bowel blockage and was set for an operation, this was followed by testing positive for Coronavirus in early 2021 which he admitted was the “scariest thing” he had to face.

Fordham had been due to compete in the inaugural World Seniors Championship at The Circus Tavern in February 2022.

Players and fans have taken to social media to pay their tributes to The Viking.