Darts legend, Andy Fordham has passed away at the age of 59, months after admitting that he was ‘terrified’ of death after suffering health issues in recent years.
Fordham faced health problems during his life and once weighed 31 stone, revealing that he would drink 25 bottles of lager a day.
He contracted coronavirus in January this year and revealed to The Sun that doctors warned him that the disease could hit him ‘very quickly’.
‘This is the scariest thing I’ve ever had to face in my life,’ he said.
‘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.’
Known as The Viking, died on Thursday afternoon, July 15, with his wife, Jenny, by his side.
At the peak of his career, the Viking was crowned world champion in 2004 after defeating Mervyn King at the BDO World Championship.
Fordham won the 2004 BDO World Championship and was one of the sport’s most popular players having played in 12 consecutive World Championships from 1995 to 2006, and made a memorable comeback at the 2015 Grand Slam.
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.
‘On an average day, I’d have up to 25 bottles of lager and half a bottle of spirits – vodka, brandy or whisky.
‘Before darts matches, I’d drink to calm my nerves. People assume alcoholics slur and fall all over the place, but I never drank to get drunk.’
Where most athletes develop a taste for women or fast cars, ‘The Viking’ was seduced by food and booze.
Instead of a shower or motivational music before taking to the oche, Fordham confessed to a much more basic preparation – he told the Telegraph in 2005: ‘Before a match I like to relax with 25 bottles of Holsten Pils and six steak n’ kidney pies.’
But the diet was part of the problem, it was integral to his success. In the same interview he said: ‘I remember my first ever world champs, I was incredibly nervous.
‘I was really scared. So before my first game I drunk shed loads and the worst thing that could’ve happened, happened: it worked.
‘And from then on, I felt I had to do it again. It helped the concentration, numbed everything, you weren’t aware of what was going on behind you, you could just concentrate on what was in front of you, the board.’