THE SPORTING WORLD was shaken last night by the news that five-times world darts champion Eric Bristow passed away aged 60 after suffering a heart attack.
He was attending a Premier League fixture at Liverpool’s Echo Arena when he was taken ill and collapsed.
News of his death sparked a rendition of “There’s only one Eric Bristow” by fans as Peter Wright and Daryl Gurney stopped playing after breaking down in tears.
Nicknamed the Crafty Cockney, Bristow dominated the sport in the 18980’s, winning three successive world titles between 1984 and 1986.
Promoter Barry Hearn, who played a pivotal role in increasing television coverage of the sport, was one of the first of many to pay tribute to the east Londoner.
“It’s just unbelievable. He was working as normal in hospitality, started feeling ill and collapsed and died. Our thoughts go out to his wife and family because this has come as a massive shock to the whole sport of darts,” 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.”
Social media was overwhelmed with similar tributes.
So sad to hear darts legend & great guy, Eric Bristow passed away. I was fortunate to spend 3 weeks as his campmate living in the jungle, even on the toughest of days his dry sense of humour & quick wit truly made the trip memorable. A real gent, he'll be missed by many. RIP x pic.twitter.com/W6GEAK0Uvw
— David Haye (@davidhaye) April 5, 2018
RIP Eric Bristow. I love this line on him by commentator Sid Waddell so much pic.twitter.com/BuGcx5XWVu
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) April 5, 2018
Shocked and saddened to hear the news about a true legend of the sport I love.
RIP Eric Bristow. Thanks for everything you did for darts.
Thoughts are with Eric's family and friends.
— Simon Whitlock (@SWhitlock180) April 5, 2018
We only seen @ericbristow this afternoon very sad to hear of his passing. Thoughts go out to his family RIP Eric
— Gary Anderson (@GaryAnderson180) April 5, 2018
Just heard the awful news about Eric Bristow. A good mate and darts legend! My thoughts are with his family at this sad time. pic.twitter.com/vj6KJjmTtv
— Ronnie O'Sullivan (@ronnieo147) April 5, 2018
Such sad news losing a proper legend like Eric Bristow.
The sport of darts owes him everything, he made it the huge success it is today.
He was the first superstar of darts, an amazing player but also a massive character.
One of my biggest inspirations.
He’ll be sorely missed. pic.twitter.com/MUZ1h9YhYV
— Rob Cross (@RobCross180) April 5, 2018
It’s such a desperately sad night. In the 1980s we all wanted to be Eric Bristow. He was brash. He was flash.He played with unparalleled panache.He loved playing darts, talking darts.He was darts. The biggest star darts has ever had, the sport owes Eric a huge debt of gratitude.
— Rod Studd (@Rod_Studd) April 5, 2018