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Andy Fordham: Former BDO World Darts champion dies aged 59

Andy Fordham won the 2004 BDO World Darts Championship beating Mervyn King in the final; 'The Viking' also won the 1999 World Masters; Adrian Lewis and Bobby George among those to pay tribute; Fordham had been due to compete at next year's World Seniors Darts Championships

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The Winter Gardens crowd and Wayne Mardle pay tribute to the legendary 2004 BDO world champion Andy Fordham, who sadly passed away earlier this week.

Former BDO world champion Andy Fordham has died at the age of 59.

A statement posted by the BDO on its Facebook page on Thursday confirmed the news regarding 'The Viking', who was one of the most popular players in the sport.

It read: "The British Darts Organisation are deeply saddened to hear of the loss of the darts legend Andy (The Viking) Fordham, a true gentleman of the game who will be deeply missed by all.

"Our hearts and thoughts are with his family at this time."

England's Andy Fordham shows his emotions as he celebrates with the winners cheque and trophy after winning the Final of the Lakeside World Professional Darts Championships against England's Mervyn King at the Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green. Fordham defeated King 6-3 to win the Championship.
Image: Fordham won the 2004 BDO World Championship with victory over Mervyn King

Fordham won the 2004 BDO World Darts Championship after beating fellow Englishman Mervyn King 6-3 in the final at Lakeside.

The ex-pub landlord also won the World Masters in 1999 and tributes have poured in for Fordham following his passing.

"Andy was one of the most recognisable players worldwide throughout his career and extremely popular around the world," said PDC President Barry Hearn.

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"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."

Former PDC world finalist Kevin Painter tweeted: "Absolutely devastated to hear the news that Andy Fordham has passed away, a darting legend and one of the nicest guys on the planet, thoughts are with the family at this time...RIP Andy."

World number 24 Chris Dobey also tweeted a selfie with Fordham with the message: "Absolutely devastated to hear of the passing of this Legend, it was an absolute pleasure to have worked and shared a stage with a true gent. Will be such a miss to all involved with darts. RIP Andy Fordham."

Two-time BDO World Championship runner-up Bobby George also tweeted: "Just heard the devastating news that Andy Fordham has passed away. He was a gentle giant and loved by all. Our condolences go out to his wife Jenny, family and friends. RIP ANDY FORDHAM THE VIKING."

Fordham qualified for the 2015 Grand Slam of Darts, but he failed to get out of his group which consisted of Adrian Lewis, Michael Smith and Wayne Jones.

Two-time world champion Lewis tweeted: "Sad to hear the passing of a legend Andy Fordham our thoughts are with his family."

'The Viking' has suffered from health issues in recent years and in January had tested positive for coronavirus.

Fordham was also hospitalised in February last year after having an operation on his bowel.

In 2007, Fordham was rushed to hospital at the World Darts Championship after suffering chest pains and breathing problems.

He was taken ill just before his first-round match against Australian Simon Whitlock at the Lakeside.

Andy Fordham launches his dart during the head-to-head showdown against Phil 'The Power' Taylor at Circus Tavern, Purfleet. Fordham has the disadvantage of playing with a broken wrist.
Image: Fordham made his BDO World Championship debut in 1995

Following his BDO win, Fordham took on reigning PDC champion Phil Taylor at the Circus Tavern in November 2004 but the Bristol-born thrower was forced to retire during the game due to illness.

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 Taylor, Dennis Priestley, John Lowe, John Part and Ted Hankey.

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