Andy Fordham dead latest – Darts legend was 'terrified of dying' from Covid as The Viking dies from major organ failure

DARTS legend Andy Fordham has died at the age of 59.

A spokesperson confirmed to SunSport that Fordham passed away in hospital on Thursday morning after suffering major organ failure.

Doctors were amazed at his ability to fight his health issues but his death has left wife Jenny and their family heartbroken.

A favourite of the British darts circuit, the Viking won the 2004 BDO World Darts Championship during a prestigious career.

Fordham once weighed 31 stone and downed 25 bottles of lager a day before tackling his health issues.

Despite shedding the pounds and battling, his darts career began to slump and he took time off to re-hone his skills.

Read our Andy Fordham live blog for the latest updates

  • Joseph Gamp

    FORDHAM’S BATTLE WITH ALCOHOL

    He had always been known as a big drinker, making him a much-loved fan-favourite.

    According to the Daily Mail Fordham once drank 62 bottles of Pils after celebrating he and his wife Jenny’s first wedding anniversary in 2001. 

    While appearing on Celebrity Fit Club in 2004, Fordham revealed he gave up drinking beer and instead drank six bottles of wine a day while on a five-day stag do in Tenerife.

    Despite his struggles he went on to win the programme’s biggest loser challenge, losing more than three stone in weight.

  • Joseph Gamp

    FORDHAM'S HEALTH BATTLES

    Last year, the Viking was hospitalised with a bowel blockage before he was struck by coronavirus.

    Fordham even revealed his dream of returning to the oche once again.

    But, on Thursday, it was confirmed that he had passed away with wife Jenny by his side

  • Joseph Gamp

    WHAT WERE ANDY FORDHAM'S FINAL COMPETITION APPEARANCES?

    The Viking made two final appearances at the Lakeside in 2005 and 2006 before health issues saw him not able to take to the stage for the final time he qualified back in 2007 to face his 2006 opponent, Simon Whitlock.

    Time away from the oche followed with Fordham returning in low key tournaments before mounting a charge to attempt to qualify for the 2008 World Championship but he lost out in the Last 128.

    It was no surprise that he was beset by health problems throughout his career. In January 2007, he collapsed while preparing for the opening match of the BDO Worlds.

    He was rushed to hospital after suffering with severe chest pains and breathing issues, and had a minor stroke.

  • Joseph Gamp

    HOW MANY DARTS TITLES DID HE WIN?

    Fordham was a superb player who was hugely popular with fans.

    And his talent arguably deserved more than the one BDO World Championship he won in 2004.

    During his career, Fordham won the following darts titles:

    • BDO World Championship – 2004
    • BDO Masters – 1999
    • British Matchplay – 1995
    • British Pentathlon – 1998, 2003
    • Finnish Open – 1994
    • Isle of Man Open – 1995
    • Norway Open – 1995, 2000
    • Swiss Open – 1994
    • Welsh Open – 2002

    FORDHAM LAST PLAYED DARTS 13 YEARS AGO – BUT WOULD HAVE 'LOVED' TO HAVE THROWN AGAIN

    Fordham last played at the Lakeside world champs 13 years ago and made a memorable appearance at the 2015 Grand Slam of Darts.

    But he accepted his career was blighted by heavy boozing, which meant that he never capitalised on that BDO world title.

    He once drunk up to 24 bottles of lager before a match, and revealed he had not given up hope of playing on the big stage once again.

    He told Winmau TV: “I had a few goes on the dartboard. It’s slowly picking up. I won’t say I’ll be back to tournament standard but without trying you don’t know.

    “I’d love to play again. I remember the British Open in Bridlington a few years back.”

    ANDY RECENTLY THANKED FANS FOR SUPPORT AFTER RECOVERING FROM COVID

    In an emotional interview with SunSport earlier this year, the former world champion broke down in tears as he explained how a doctor had warned him he faced a make-or-break few days. 

    Fordham told SunSport: “Right now I am just about coping.

    “But I spoke to my doctor who warned me the virus can hit you very quickly. 

    “My biggest fear is waking up one morning, not being able to breathe and being placed in the back of the ambulance – then not seeing my wife and children again.”

    Despite recovering from Covid, the darts legend sadly passed away following organ failure just 6 months after battling the virus.

    FORDHAM RECENTLY ADMITTED HE WAS 'TERRIFIED OF DYING' AFTER BEING DIAGNOSED WITH CORONAVIRUS

    Fordham recently admitted he was ‘terrified of dying’ after being diagnosed with coronavirus. 

    The 58-year-old, who has been beset by health problems in recent years, told The Sun: “This is the scariest thing I’ve ever had to face in my life.” 

    In an emotional interview the former world champion broke down in tears as he explained how a doctor has warned him he faces a make-or-break few days. 

    Andy pulled through but would be dead just six months later

    HOW DID ANDY FORDHAM EARN HIS NICKNAME 'THE VIKING'?

    It was Bobby George who gave Andy Fordham the nickname The Viking.

    Weighing 30 stone at his fighting peak, with a big beard, long hair and a 20-bottle-a-day thirst, the 2004 BDO world darts champion looked like the sort of chap who held a gold card at Valhalla after accruing so many pillaging points.

    "He was a cartoon character with forearms as thick as most people's legs," George said after Fordham died, aged 59.

    "You expected him to be carrying a huge sword."

    FORDHAM’S BATTLE WITH ALCOHOL

    He had always been known as a big drinker, making him a much-loved fan-favourite.

    According to the Daily Mail Fordham once drank 62 bottles of Pils after celebrating he and his wife Jenny’s first wedding anniversary in 2001. 

    While appearing on Celebrity Fit Club in 2004, Fordham revealed he gave up drinking beer and instead drank six bottles of wine a day while on a five-day stag do in Tenerife.

    Despite his struggles he went on to win the programme’s biggest loser challenge, losing more than three stone in weight.

    • Joseph Gamp

      PICTURED: DARTS LEGEND ANDY 'THE VIKING' FORDHAM

      Andy Fordham watches in the crowd during day seven of the William Hill PDC World Championship at Alexandra Palace in 2015Credit: PA

       

    • Joseph Gamp

      WATCH: ANDY FORDHAM PLAYS A BLIND DARTS TEAM BLINDFOLDED

      Andy Fordham plays a blind darts team…blindfolded!

    • Joseph Gamp

      FAMILY HAS ASKED FOR DONATIONS TO GO TO HEART OF DARTS CHARITY

      His family have asked well wishers to donate to the charity Heart of Darts.

      Tributes have flooded in from across the sport for the Millwall fan, born in South-east London in 1962.

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

    • Joseph Gamp

      HIT BY VIRUS

      In January Fordham told SunSport: “Right now I am just about coping.

      “But I spoke to my doctor who warned me the virus can hit you very quickly. 

      “My biggest fear is waking up one morning, not being able to breathe and being placed in the back of the ambulance – then not seeing my wife and children again.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      KING OF DARTS

      Lewis famously faced Fordham on his 2015 comeback at the Grand Slam of Darts, in which the Viking hit a 180 with his first three darts before succumbing to defeat.

      Glen Durrant posted a photo of himself with Fordham in his tribute, and commented: “RIP Andy Fordham #Legend.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      HOW DID ANDY FORDHAM ENTER THE DARTS SCENE?

      The Bristol-born thrower entered the scene with a run to the BDO semi-finals in 1995 before finally claiming the trophy nine years later, following a stunning comeback victory over Raymond van Barneveld in the semis.

      He beat Mervyn King in the final to add the world crown to his 1999 Masters title.

      That set up a Sky Box Office encounter with PDC champion Phil Taylor, which saw Fordham retire mid-game due to health concerns.

      Despite shedding a colossal amount of weight, his darts career began to slump and he took time off to re-hone his skills.

      Fordham made a number of attempts to return to the top but his final tournament came in March 2018 with a failed go at qualifying for the Masters.

    • Joseph Gamp

      BOBBY GEORGE LEADS TRIBUTES TO ANDY 'THE VIKING' FORDHAM

      Bobby George led tributes to ‘gentle giant’ Andy Fordham after the darts legend died aged 59.

      A spokesman for the former BDO World Darts champion confirmed ‘The Viking’ passed away on Thursday morning at hospital from major organ failure.

      And fellow darts pal George led the tributes with an emotional statement on social media.

      He said: “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.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      WATCH: FORMER WORLD DARTS CHAMPION ANDY FORDHAM DIES AT 59

      Former world darts champion Andy Fordham dies at 59

    • Joseph Gamp

      WEIGHT CRISIS

      Andy – who once weighed 31 stone and downed 25 bottles of lager a day – had spoken openly about his health issues. 

      In 2009, he got his weight down to 16 stone but last year he ballooned back up to 28 stone. 

      In February 2020, it led to him being rushed to hospital where an operation on his bowel led to him having 16 litres of fluid drained from his body. 

    • Joseph Gamp

      FORDHAM'S BATTLE WITH ALCOHOL

      He had always been known as a big drinker, making him a much-loved fan-favourite.

      According to the Daily Mail Fordham once drank 62 bottles of Pils after celebrating he and his wife Jenny’s first wedding anniversary in 2001. 

      While appearing on Celebrity Fit Club in 2004, Fordham revealed he gave up drinking beer and instead drank six bottles of wine a day while on a five-day stag do in Tenerife.

      Despite his struggles he went on to win the programme’s biggest loser challenge, losing more than three stone in weight.

    • Joseph Gamp

      HOW MANY DARTS TITLES DID HE WIN?

      Fordham was a superb player who was hugely popular with fans.

      And his talent arguably deserved more than the one BDO World Championship he won in 2004.

      During his career, Fordham won the following darts titles:

      • BDO World Championship – 2004
      • BDO Masters – 1999
      • British Matchplay – 1995
      • British Pentathlon – 1998, 2003
      • Finnish Open – 1994
      • Isle of Man Open – 1995
      • Norway Open – 1995, 2000
      • Swiss Open – 1994
      • Welsh Open – 2002

      FINAL APPEARANCES

      He made two final appearances at the Lakeside in 2005 and 2006 before health issues saw him not able to take to the stage for the final time he qualified back in 2007 to face his 2006 opponent, Simon Whitlock.

      Time away from the oche followed with Fordham returning in low key tournaments before mounting a charge to attempt to qualify for the 2008 World Championship but he lost out in the Last 128.

      It was no surprise that he was beset by health problems throughout his career. In January 2007, he collapsed while preparing for the opening match of the BDO Worlds.

      He was rushed to hospital after suffering with severe chest pains and breathing issues, and had a minor stroke.

      • Joseph Gamp

        A GENTLE GIANT LOVED BY RIVALS

        His walk-on tune was I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred but for so long he was the nearly man of the oche with four semi-final defeats until he finally got his hands of the famous old trophy.

        After winning the 2004 final, Fordham faced off with Phil Taylor in a match billed as The Showdown and shown on Sky Box Office but the former was taken unwell during the match, being defaulted at 5-2, with health concerns raised after it was revealed that he regularly consumed 24 bottles of lager before he went on stage.

        The docs advice led Fordham to seek help and assistance with TV programme Celebrity Fit Club, where he became friends with the journalist and TV presenter Paul Ross.

      • Joseph Gamp

        WHO IS ANDY FORDHAM'S WIFE JENNY?

        Andy and his wife Jenny met way back in the early 1980s and were engaged in 1982.

        But it wasn’t until 2000 that the couple finally tied the knot.

        The pair have two children together – Ray and Emily – as well as five grandchildren.Edit

      • Joseph Gamp

        HE WAS ONCE KNOWN FOR HIS SLENDER FRAME AS A TEENAGER

        As a teenager, Andy grew up in Charlton, south east London, and was nick named “The Whippet” according to the MailOnline.

        His slender build led him to have a keen passion for track-and-field events as well as football.

        He told MailOnline of his weight reaching 31st: ‘I never ate a lot, but I ate badly, grabbing convenience foods – takeaways, pizzas, kebabs – because I was always so busy. 

        ‘If I was working behind the bar, I’d snack on peanuts or crisps, and I never exercised. And then there was the drinking.

        ‘Looking back, I realise I was an alcoholic. I couldn’t stop myself. I thought I was in control but I wasn’t. 

        ‘I would start drinking as soon as I went downstairs to open up the bar, at around 11am.”

      • Harvey Lindsay

        A GENTLE GIANT LOVED BY RIVALS

        His walk-on tune was I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred but for so long he was the nearly man of the oche with four semi-final defeats until he finally got his hands of the famous old trophy.

        After winning the 2004 final, Fordham faced off with Phil Taylor in a match billed as The Showdown and shown on Sky Box Office but the former was taken unwell during the match, being defaulted at 5-2, with health concerns raised after it was revealed that he regularly consumed 24 bottles of lager before he went on stage.

        The docs advice led Fordham to seek help and assistance with TV programme Celebrity Fit Club, where he became friends with the journalist and TV presenter Paul Ross.

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