Darts legend Bristow was a five-time world champion and died of cardiac arrest on Thursday evening.
He had been at the Echo Arena in Liverpool for tonight’s Premier League Darts.
And fans at the darts tonight showed their appreciation for The Crafty Cockney, chanting: “There’s only one Eric Bristow” as news of his death filtered into the arena.
Word spread during Peter Wright’s final match of the night against Daryl Gurney, which ended 6-6.
Wright and Gurney hugged on stage and applauded the fans at the end of the match, before Wright left the stage in tears.
Keith Deller, who beat Bristow in the 1983 world final and was working for Sky Sports, was visibly shocked as he spoke on stage about his great pal.
“When you look at the big stars we have produced in Britain, Eric Bristow is right up at the top. It is a really sad night for me because he was one of the best friends I have ever had in my life,” Deller said.
Eric Bristow has died at the age of 60
Eric Bristow was one of darts’ first superstars
A PDC statement read: “The Professional Darts Corporation is deeply saddened to announce that five-time World Champion Eric Bristow MBE passed away on Thursday evening following a heart attack.
“Arguably the sport’s first superstar player, Bristow, 60, was World Champion five times between 1980-1986 and also won five World Masters titles during an outstanding career.
“Bristow was one of the founder players when the PDC (then World Darts Council) was formed in 1993 as the sport’s leading stars broke away from the British Darts Organisation.”
Bristow was one of the most recognised players of the 1980s, winning five World Masters titles as well as his five world championships.
He retired from competitive darts a decade ago but has remained in the arrows spotlight.
Eric Bristow enjoyed his hay-day in the 1980s
A touching tribute from the Liverpool crowd as news of five-time World Champion Eric Bristow MBE passing away, reaches darts fans around the World pic.twitter.com/UxVXZCMg9S
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) April 5, 2018
Absolutely devastated to be told earlier that my good friend Eric Bristow has passed away
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn led the tributes to Bristow, stating: “Eric will always be a legend in the world of darts and British sport. 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.”
Current PDC world champion Michael van Gerwen tweeted: “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!”
Eric Bristow was a five-time world champion
Raymond van Barneveld, who lost 7-0 to Michael Smith tonight, wrote on Twitter: “Eric Bristow died tonight…. I am lost for words and really devastated !! He was darts he meant so much to me, cannot believe it !! My thoughts go out to his wife and family.”
Dennis Priestly wrote: “Absolutely devastated to be told earlier that my good friend Eric Bristow has passed away. We shared some great times together and I’m so saddened that we won’t get to share anymore. Rest in peace old friend.”
Simon Whitlock said: “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.”
Eric Bristow was one first players of the PDC era
The PDC was staging it’s Premier League Judgement Night in Liverpool tonight.
Bristow was said to have been at the Echo Arena for the event.
He acted as a mentor to darts’ greatest ever player, Phil Taylor, during their playing days and continued to stay in the limelight following his professional retirement.
Having moved to Staffordshire, East London-born Bristow guided Taylor and lent him money to launch a career which saw The Power win an astonishing 16 world championship crowns among his 79 major titles.
Bristow himself won over 70 professional titles and was actually beaten by Taylor in the 1990 world championship final.
Phil Taylor beat Eric Bristow to win the 1990 world championship
As Taylor said earlier this year: “Even now when Eric walked into the room, I would always stand up. He would always tell me ‘Why are you sitting down, you should be practicing’. That never left me.”
In a different age for the sport, Bristow’s legendary battles with Jocky Wilson, Bobby George and John Lowe brought in huge viewing figures on the BBC.
And he was also a guest on the cult TV show Bullseye, whose legendary presenter Jim Bowen died only a few weeks ago.
In November Bristow lost his job with Sky after offensive tweets about the football sexual abuse scandal. He later apologised.
Read more here: Daily Express :: Sport Feedhappy wheels
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