Darts legend Andy Fordham dies aged 59 as tributes paid to ex-world champ

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Darts legend Andy Fordham has passed away at the age of 59.

The Viking won the 2004 BDO World Championship after defating Mervyn King in the final.

He also won the 1999 World Masters, beating Wayne Jones.

Tributes have poured in for the star, who died with with wife Jenny by his side.

Kevin Painter wrote: "Absolutely devasted 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."

Former world champ Adrian Lewis tweeted: “Sad to hear the passing of a legend Andy Fordham our thoughts are with his family."

LiveDarts tweeted: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former World Champion Andy Fordham at the age of 59. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

Fordham began his professional darts career in the 1990s and made his BDO world championship debut in 1995, reaching the semi-finals before losing to Richie Burnett.

After another semi-final defeat in 1996, he failed to make it beyond the second round in the following two years, losing to Marshall James and Raymond van Barneveld.

He made the semi-finals twice more in 1999 and 2001, but it wasn't until 2004 that the fans favourite managed to go all the way at the Lakeside.

The Viking beat Mervyn King 6-3 to lift the BDO world championship for the first time at his tenth attempt.

After winning the 2004 final at the Lakeside, Fordham faced off against Phil Taylor in a match billed as The Showdown.

However, the match was defaulted with the score at 5-2 after Fordham became unwell and complained of shortness of breath.

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