Darts world champion and fans’ favourite who may have achieved much more but for his unhealthy lifestyle
Andy “the Viking” Fordham, who has died aged 59, was one of the world’s most popular darts players, instantly recognisable with his mane of long hair, thick black beard and 190kg (30 stone) bulk. But the 2004 world champion was never the intimidating figure his appearance suggested.
Fellow players and friends spoke of his abidingly gentle and generous nature, with the promoter Barry Hearn describing him as “a gentleman of whom I have never heard a bad word” and the former world champion John Lowe noting that he was “a true friend of everyone”. Even after his top class playing days were over he was always warmly received at events and regarded as a leading figure in the world of darts.