Legendary darts broadcaster Sid Waddell dies

 

Darts broadcaster Sid Waddell has died at the age of 72, his manager has confirmed.

Waddell had been battling bowel cancer since last September and the news of his death was confirmed this morning.

A statement from his manager Dick Allix read: "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 11th, 2012."

Waddell was a central part of Sky Sports' coverage of PDC darts events since 1994 and was known for his colourful and excitable commentary style, with his best-known lines including "There's only one word for it - 'magic darts"'.

He also noted, while watching Eric Bristow become world champion: "When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer...Bristow's only 27."

Waddell's other commentary work included pool's Mosconi Cup, while he also made a one-off appearance as the BBC National Lottery's "Voice of the Balls".

In addition, he has had 11 books published and wrote the sport-based BBC children's programmes Jossy's Giants and Sloggers, receiving a nomination for best scriptwriter from the Writer's Guild of Great Britain for the latter.

Former players and broadcasting colleagues queued up to pay tribute after news of Waddell's death.

Twice BDO World Championship finalist Bobby George wrote on Twitter: "So sad to hear of the passing of the legend Sid Waddell or Sidly as I used to call him. Sincere condolences go out to the family x."

Wayne Mardle, the 2003 World Matchplay runner-up, added: "So so gutted, The legend Sid Waddell passed away last night. Thoughts are with his family right now."

Sky Sports' Dave Clark, who worked with Waddell for many years, tearfully remembered his former colleague on Sky Sports News.

"He was the voice of darts," said Clark. "Darts isn't going to be the same without Sid Waddell.

"He had a child-like exuberance, he'd be bouncing round like a young puppy in the commentary box, and mix that with the intellect of Einstein.

"He was a brilliant man, a genius of the microphone - I'm going to miss my old mate, that's for sure.

"I know he's been really battling this cancer for a long, long time and what I hear from the family is it's a blessing that he's gone, but a tragedy."

Another of the organisation's presenters, Jeff Stelling, added: "It's shattering news. Back when I was working with him he made more of an impact than any of the players did. He is totally irreplaceable.

"There has never been such a sports commentator to make such an impact. He had a wonderful turn of phrase. He was the leader of the gang and we were all in his gang.

"On the big occasion he was always there - if he wasn't there it wasn't a big occasion. He was the doyen of sports commentating."

BBC Sport's Gary Lineker wrote on Twitter: "See that Sid Waddell has lost his fight with Cancer. He really was the voice of his sport. A brilliant, witty, colourful commentator."

Tributes to Waddell extended beyond sport, with former deputy Prime Minister John Prescott tweeting: "Farewell to Sid Waddell - a man who did so much for darts and voiced so many memorable moments. A double top bloke."

Bristow told Sky Sports News: "Sid was top dog wasn't he? He's not going to be replaced, he was a one-off.

"I remember a game he was commentating on, Cliff Lazarenko was playing Jocky Wilson. Cliff was about 22 stone and Jocky was about 17 stone and he said they were two athletes. I just cracked up."

A statement from Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis read: "We 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 miss him deeply.

"Our thoughts are with Irene (his wife) and family at this very sad time."

SID WADDELL'S CLASSIC QUOTES...

"When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer... (Eric) Bristow's only 27."

"Big Cliff Lazarenko's idea of exercise is sitting in a room with the windows open taking the lid off something cool and fizzy."

"As Freud said to Jung in Vienna, you can psych up too much for a darts match."

"Bristow reasons; Bristow quickens; aaaaah Bristow!"

"Keith Deller's not just an underdog, he's an underpuppy!" - Deller would go on to win the 1983 World Championship final against Bristow with a 138 finish.

"The atmosphere is so tense, if Elvis walked in with a portion of chips, you could hear the vinegar sizzle on them."

"This lad has more checkouts than Tescos."

"If we'd had Phil Taylor at Hastings against the Normans, they'd have gone home."

"William Tell could take an apple off your head, Taylor could take out a processed pea."

"There's only one word for it - 'magic darts'."

PA

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