The sport of darts has sadly lost another of its true characters, Sid Waddell. The ‘voice’ of darts passed away peacefully just a day after his 72nd birthday following an 11 month fight with bowel cancer.

A statement from his manager Dick Allix was released at midday today reading: “With great sadness, we announce that following a long illness, broadcaster and author Sid Waddell died peacefully with all his family around him late last night, Saturday August 11 2012.”

Waddell, born in Alnwick in 1940 to a miner father and cleaner mother, attained a scholarship and read modern history at St John’s College, Cambridge. Darts captivated Waddell to such an extent that he organised the first inter-college championships at university.

Following graduation, he joined Yorkshire Television and brought darts into the homes of millions through his creation of The Indoor League programme. Soon after, he found himself manning the microphone to cover the sport from the inception of the World Professional Darts Championships in 1978.

He had worked for Sky Sports since 1994 and was a regular fixture at all PDC events until becoming ill during 2011. Despite undergoing treatment for cancer, he managed to return to the commentary box for one-off appearances at the World Championship and Premier League earlier this year.

Many of his phrases have been immortalised in broadcasting folklore, including “there’s only one word for it – magic darts”, “If we’d had Phil Taylor at Hastings against the Normans, they’d have gone home.” and famously, when describing five-time World Champion Eric Bristow, “When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer…Bristow’s only 27.”

Having bumped into Sid a number of times over the years on the circuit, we can can confirm he was as mad as his over the top style of commentary would suggest, but more importantly a very likeable and approachable gentleman. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends and the world of darts.

Sid you will be sorely missed but never forgotten. Have a wee brown with Jocky up there…..

 

Barry Hearn, PDC Chairman

It’s terrible news and our thoughts go out to Irene and his family. Sid was the Voice of Darts and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.
He was such a major part of darts, a really nice fellow who no-one had a bad word about.
He was wonderful to listen to, with his university education he was tremendously intelligent and whether it was Greek mythology or Marxism he always found a way of pulling a quote out relating to a darts match.
He’s up there with the legendary commentators in sport and he kept his passion for darts with him every time he went in to the commentary box.
He was totally unique and brought that excitement in to people’s living rooms to add to the entertainment that the players created.
He had so much respect for the players and hated that snobbishness that some people looked down on darts with – he brought the game in to the 21st century.
He was fun to be around, you never saw him down and he looked forward to every match as it was the most important thing in his life. He loved life and whether it was writing or broadcasting he lived it 100 percent and gave it 100 percent.
We will mark Sid’s memory appropriately to ensure he lives on in darts long in to the future.

Eric Bristow, five time World Champion

Sid was part of our history, he’s been there since the beginning in 1973. He was fun and crazy and people loved listening to him.
There will never be another Sid, he was a one-off – so excitable and hyperactive, when you were commentating with him you’d have to turn your microphone off he’d make you laugh so much.
Every sport has a great commentator and he was ours, he was our top dog and we will all miss him so much.

Barney Francis, Managing Director, Sky Sports

We will all remember Sid’s wonderful words, his great sense of humour and his passion for the sport he loved.
Sid was a friend to all of us at Sky Sports, at the heart of our darts coverage since the early 1990s. He was a wonderful man and we will all miss him deeply.
Our thoughts are with him and his family at this sad time.

Dave Clark, Presenter, Sky Sports

Everybody used to fight to get in to the commentary box with Sid. There was a memorable moment when he was commentating with Stephen Fry at the Premier League Final and he asked Stephen Fry if he was enjoying it – he turned to him and said: “Sid, I’m like a pig in Chardonnay.”
Sid was loved by us all, he was a one-off, a genius and so much fun to be around. He made the world a brighter place and it’s heartbreaking that he’s gone.

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