Farewell to a legend
Sky Sports mourns the loss of a legend
Last Updated: August 14, 2012 3:04pm
Sky Sports darts commentator Sid Waddell died peacefully on Saturday night following a long battle against illness.
Waddell, 72, had been battling bowel cancer since last September and he died peacefully with all his family around him late last night.
Sky Sports Managing Director Barney Francis said: "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 and family at this very sad time."
Sky Sports' Jeff Stelling presented darts coverage with the 'Voice of Darts' and says the impact of the commentator for the game of darts cannot be overstated.
"It is shattering news," he said. "He was a wonderful commentator and bigger than the game in many respects. Certainly in the days when I was presenting darts for Sky Sports he was more famous and made more impact than any of the players did at that time. He was and is totally irreplaceable. There has never been a sports commentator who has made such an impact."
Eric Bristow, a five-time world darts champion, paid tribute to Waddell's unique style of commentary and his importance to darts.
"He is part of our history," Bristow said. "He has been there from the start since 1973. He will be sorely missed. Some of the things he came out with, the fun quotes, he was just crazy and people loved to listen to him. He was part of the game."
Sky Sports' Dave Clark added: "Everybody used to fight to get in the commentary box with him. People like Stephen Fry idolised him and there was a memorable day when Sid and Stephen were in the commentary box together at the final of the Premier League and Sid asked if Stephen Fry was enjoying himself and he turned to Sid and said, 'I am like a pig in chardonnay'. It was a lovely moment."
Two-time darts world champion Dennis Priestly offered an insight into the close relationship between Sid and the players.
"Many a time the sound proof box where they were commentating was not sound proof and we would hear him on stage yelling the scores out," Priestly said. "And we would change our finish just because Sid had called us. It was fun. He would be quite silent and serene with his commentary and then all of a sudden he would burst out really loud and everybody would jump back.
"It was very sad news and I am devastated. Sid was a lovely, colourful and jovial fella and it doesn't seem two minutes ago that he was here at my 50th birthday party.
"Everybody loved Sid. They knew how to take him. He used to be so colourful with his words and one liners, it was incredible where he made them up from. He was so intelligent and his choice of words was fantastic."
Meanwhile Barry Hearn, the Professional Darts Corporation chairman, said: "It's terribly sad news, we will all miss Sid tremendously and our thoughts are with Irene and his family. His unique commentary style was synonymous with the sport and he was a universally loved figure in darts.
"His passion and knowledge of darts was unrivalled and so many of his phrases are etched on our minds. We will mark Sid's memory appropriately to ensure he lives on in darts long in to the future."