Eric Bristow dies aged 60 following heart attack
Last Updated: 06/04/18 12:54pm
Five-time world darts champion Eric Bristow has died aged 60.
Bristow was at the Premier League Darts event at Liverpool's Echo Arena when he suffered a heart attack.
I didn’t want to share this message, Eric has passed away, my rival, my friend, my drinking Pal, lost a part of my life tonight. Thanks for being Eric. Goodbye my good friend.— john lowe (@jloweprodart) April 5, 2018
Arguably the sport's first superstar, Bristow also won five World Masters titles and four World Cup Singles titles.
He was one of the founder players when the PDC was formed in 1993 and was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame 12 years later. He was awarded an MBE for services to sport in 1989.
PDC chairman Barry Hearn led the tributes to the man who went by the nickname of the Crafty Cockney.
"Eric will always be a legend in the world of darts and British sport," Hearn 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.
"Eric was never afraid of controversy, but he spoke as he found and was honest and straightforward which is what people admired about him. The PDC, and the sport of darts, will miss him."
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Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said: "Eric is a legend of the sport and his name will never be forgotten. His passing is shocking and extremely sad, the fans showed in Liverpool just how much they loved him and the massive impact he had on darts.
"As a player he was larger than life and a joy to watch. In retirement he helped educate and excite a whole new audience watching the sport on TV and we will always remember him."
Born in east London, Bristow later relocated to Staffordshire where he proved instrumental in sponsoring and mentoring Phil Taylor during the early stages of the eventual 16-time World Champion's career.
Taylor went on to defeat Bristow in the 1990 World Championship final, while a 6-0 defeat to Dennis Priestley the following year proved to be his last appearance in a televised final.
His final World Championship, in 2000, was his 23rd of an illustrious career which saw him win over 70 professional titles in total.
Shocked and saddened to hear the news about a true legend of the sport I love.— Simon Whitlock (@SWhitlock180) April 5, 2018
RIP Eric Bristow. Thanks for everything you did for darts.
Thoughts are with Eric's family and friends.