Five-time world darts champion Eric Bristow, the self-styled 'Crafty Cockney' who was a mainstay of the sport's beer and cigarette days, died Thursday at the age of 60, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) announced.
RIP Crafty Cockney
Bristow, widely regarded as darts' first superstar during his pomp between 1980 and 1986, died from a suspected heart attack.
"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," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.
"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."
Born in east London on April 25, 1957, Bristow later relocated to the English Midlands where he went on to become a mentor to Phil Taylor, who went on to become a 16-time world champion himself.
Bristow, who fell ill while attending a darts event in Liverpool on Thursday, won a total of 23 career titles before going on to become a respected TV pundit.
Three-time world champion John Lowe tweeted: "I didn't want to share this message, Eric has passed away, my rival, my friend, my drinking pal, lost a part of my life tonight. Thanks for being Eric. Goodbye my good friend."