Darts Legend Eric Bristow Dies at Age 60

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 07:  Eric Bristow, five-time world darts champion, is pictured during the Pound 4 Pound Charity fundraiser for Fight4change on May 7, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Five-time darts world champion Eric Bristow has died aged 60 after suffering a heart attack.

The Professional Darts Corporation confirmed the news in a statement on their official website, in which they describe Bristow as "arguably the sport's first superstar player."

In the bulletin, PDC chairman Barry Hearn paid tribute to Bristow's influence on darts.

"Eric will always be a legend in the world of darts and British sport," he said. "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."

Two-time world champion and current world No. 1 Michael van Gerwen paid his respects to Bristow on Twitter:

Michael Van Gerwen @MvG180

Just heard the latest horrible news that Eric Bristow has passed away. My thought are with his family at this sad time. True legend in the game! #RIPEric #legend

As noted by the Live Darts Twitter account, at the ongoing Premier League Darts event in Liverpool, fans hailed the man known as the Crafty Cockney:

Live Darts @livedarts

"There's only one Eric Bristow" is now ringing around the Echo Arena. A moving tribute to The Crafty Cockney.

The PDC's Dan Dawson summed up the type of character Bristow was:

Dan Dawson @DanDartsDawson

Bristow was the first superstar of darts. He won 5 world titles. He said he "won £1m in prize money & blew the lot". He always seemed delighted with an afternoon down the bookies, followed by the pub and a takeaway. He could be abrasive, but he lived life on his own terms. RIP.

The darts legend dominated the sport in the early and mid-1980s, as his five world titles came between 1980 and 1986. He was also a founder player of the PDC, which was formed in 1993 and helped transform the sport.

As noted in the PDC statement, Bristow is said to have been key in the development of 16-time world champion Phil Taylor. The two met in the 1990 world final, with Taylor coming out on top. Bristow's final appearance on the oche came in 2007.