THE son of Sid Waddell today paid tribute to a man known simply as ‘The Voice of Darts’.
The sports broadcaster died at the weekend, aged 72, surrounded by his wife Irene and family.
Sid lived in Pudsey for 40 years year before moving to Harrogate to be closer to his three daughters just weeks before his death.
He was diagnosed with bowel cancer last September.
Footballer Wayne Rooney Tweeted: “Sad news to hear about Sid Waddell. Made darts so much better to watch. He will be missed. Legend. RIP SID.”
Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott also Tweeted: “Farewell to Sid Waddell - a man who did so much for darts and voiced so many memorable moments. A double top bloke #RIPSid.”
Sid worked for the BBC for almost two decades before becoming a central part of Sky Sports’ coverage of the Professional Darts Championship (PDC) events from 1994.
He was famous for his excitable commentary style in his trademark north eastern accent.
One of his best-known lines was: “There’s only one word for it - ‘magic darts’.”
Son Daniel, 40, also a writer, told the YEP: “Obviously we are devastated, but it’s very much mixed emotions.
“He had been ill for a long time, it had been a very difficult time so there is a mixture of relief as well as sadness. He had experienced a fair amount of pain, which he bore with a vast amount of courage.
“It’s very surreal to see the likes of John Prescott and Wayne Rooney paying tribute to him, but that just shows how many lives he touched and he would have been very moved by that.
“He had a reach beyond darts and that’s very nice to know. Even people who couldn’t stand darts would watch it for his commentary.
“But to us he will always be an amazing husband, father and grandfather. He was as good at that as he was at darts commentary.”
Despite his illness, Sid’s passion for darts never waned.
He was still commentating on Premier League matches earlier this year and glued to an iPad to watch the World Matchplay event last month.
Daniel added: “He loved darts so much, he was never going to lose the passion.”
From the smoky tap rooms of Eric Bristow’s playing days to the packed arenas watching Phil Taylor’s nine-dart finishes, Sid Waddell was the one man to have seen it all.
His unmistakable commentary has gone hand-in-glove with TV darts coverage for decades.
Sid brought the ‘arrows’ to life for people of all ages, with quick and witty comments keeping viewers entertained.
Some of his best-known comments accompanied the antics of Eric Bristow in the 1980s, including “the congregation is restless and the High Priest is at the oche” and “Bristow reasons...Bristow quickens...Aaah, Bristow.”
After joining Yorkshire Television in 1968, he was a producer for more than 600 editions of news programme Calendar, nominated for a best director Bafta for his work on an Ipso Facto documentary in 1992.
Sid was born in Alnwick, Northumberland, on August 10 1940, the son of a miner.
He went to King Edward VI School in Morpeth, and then with a scholarship on to St John’s College, Cambridge, gaining a first class degree in modern history - something he wasn’t shy about telling people when they first met him.
He worked at Granada Television from 1966, alongside Michael Parkinson, before a move to Yorkshire Television in 1968.
Sid created the show Indoor League – featuring pub games including darts – and devised children’s series The Flaxton Boys.
In 1976, he moved to the BBC, where his experience with televised darts helped him to become one of the commentators on the first World Professional Darts Championship (PDC) in 1978.
Speaking in 2008, Sid said: “If I went to Twickenham or Lord’s or Wembley and did my kind of commentary I would get garrotted – because one’s role in darts, quite seriously, is to be over the top. We can’t have Whispering Teds, and you can’t speak as slowly as Bumble.”
He was entered into the PDC Hall of Fame in 2008. He also wrote sporting biographies of Jocky Wilson and WDC champion Phil Taylor, and his own works, Bedroll Bella, Bellies and Bullseyes and The Road Back Home.
Phil Taylor said: “When you say the words ‘Sid’ and ‘darts’, everyone knows who you are talking about. He is a genius, the Frank Sinatra of darts — you are never going to replace him.”
Sid leaves wife Irene and their children Daniel, Charlotte, Lucy, Emma and Nicholas.