Legendary darts referee and PDC Hall of Fame member Bruce Spendley has passed away at the age of 80.
Spendley was a face and voice synonymous with televised darts for more than 30 years, overseeing some of the sport’s most iconic moments.
The Cleveland-based caller refereed at 34 World Championships across the BDO and PDC systems from 1980-2013, hanging up the microphone following the final between Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace eight years ago.
After Taylor had secured his 16th World Championship title, he famously embraced Spendley on the stage and presented him with the match board.
His contribution to darts was recognised when he was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame at the Annual Awards dinner in 2013.
Spendley joined the PDC when it was formed as the WDC (World Darts Council) in 1992 after he was banned from the BDO for refereeing at the Lada Classic during the sport’s infamous split.
He developed a style of calling with distinguished 180s, curt 100s and the terms “Game on”, “Best of order” and “Game-shot and the match” which have become commonplace in the sport ever since.
Some of the many classic matches refereed by Spendley include the 1989 BDO World Championship final between Jocky Wilson and Eric Bristow and the 2007 PDC World Championship final between Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld.
A minute’s applause was held in his memory by players and staff prior to Tuesday’s Players Championship 14 in Milton Keynes.
Players and officials from past and present have taken to social media to pay their tributes to Bruce Spendley.
𝗔 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝟭𝟴𝟬 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹 🎤
RIP Bruce Spendley 🖤 pic.twitter.com/Rbq0RTNRJ9
— Live Darts (@livedarts) June 15, 2021
Very sad to hear about the passing of a dear Friend and colleague Bruce Spendley thoughts and prayers go to all he leaves behind RIP pal.
— Phil Taylor (@PhilTaylor) June 15, 2021
Sad to hear the news that Bruce Spendley has passed away, such a gent, my thoughts are with his family
— Adrian Lewis (@jackpot180) June 15, 2021
So sad to hear of the passing of Bruce Spendley. In my opinion the best referee with the best voice for darts ever. Bruce helped me big time when I first joined the PDC in 1996 even until his retirement. Thank you Fella. Thoughts with Bruces family at this time. RIP Buddy 😔x
— Russ Bray (@Russ180) June 15, 2021
Very saddened to hear Bruce has passed away, the best referee I’ve ever seen “Rolls Royce voice Bruce” thank you for being my friend. We had some great times and I will always remember these. Sleep well my friend….❤️ pic.twitter.com/tdRxOpiytq
— George Noble180 (@GeorgeNoble180) June 15, 2021
So sad to hear of the passing of Bruce Spendley today. He was such a lovely fella and will be missed by everyone who met him or listened to him on TV. Some of my greatest moments Bruce was there calling the shots and I will be forever thankful to have shared them with him #rip
— Dennis Priestley (@denpriestley180) June 15, 2021
So sad to hear the news. RIP Bruce Spendley. Condolences go out to your family and friends. 😢
— Bobby George (@BobbyGeorge180) June 15, 2021
Very sad news to hear of the passing of Bruce Spendley. He truly was a great referee always professional and quiet unassuming guy. Thanks Bruce for always bringing a little brush to wipe the chalk off the board.
— Keith Deller (@KDeller138) June 15, 2021
Very sad to hear Bruce Spendley has passed away. He called my 1st tour 9 darter at the Irish Master. RIP mate
— ColinJawsLloyd (@ColinJawsLloyd) June 15, 2021
So sad to hear that Bruce Spendley one of our best referees has passed away. RIP my friend. pic.twitter.com/ogYKLVzTWU
— Stevebeaton (@Stevebeaton180) June 15, 2021