Former world champion Andy Fordham dies aged 59

Andy Fordham won the world title in 2004
Andy ‘The Viking’ Fordham won the world title in 2004 (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Former world champion Andy Fordham has died at the age of 59, the British Darts Organisation has announced.

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 deeply missed by all.

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

Fordham, who required a life-saving bowel operation in 2020 and was diagnosed with coronavirus at the start of this year, made headlines in 2004 with a thrilling 6-3 win over Mervyn King in the BDO World Championship final at Lakeside.

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After a health scare in 2007 where doctors told Fordham his liver was 75 per cent dead, he enrolled on reality TV show Celebrity Fit Club and joined the Professional Darts Corporation in 2009.

The Bristol-born player would later return to the BDO and qualified for the Grand Slam of Darts in 2015 where he claimed a first televised win in 10 years over Wayne Jones.

Adrian Lewis had also faced Fordham in that event and paid tribute to him on Twitter, saying: “Sad to hear the passing of a legend Andy Fordham. Our thoughts are with his family.”

Former darts player and ex-BBC pundit Bobby George added: “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.”