Tributes for darts voice Waddell

Tributes have poured in for darts commentator Sid Waddell after death at the age of 72.

Waddell, who had been battling bowel cancer since last September, died on Saturday night.

A statement from his manager Dick Allix read: "With great sadness, we announce that following a long illness, broadcaster and author Sid Waddell died peacefully with all his family around him late last night, Saturday August 11, 2012."

Bobby George, twice a British Darts Organisation World Championship finalist, was among the first to pay tribute, writing on Twitter: "So sad to hear of the passing of the legend Sid Waddell or Sidly as I used to call him. Sincere condolences go out to the family x."

Three-time world champion John Lowe added: "Darts has lost its champion of the commentary box, Sid Waddell, sincere condolences to his family, good bye dear friend."

Raymond van Barneveld, the Dutch winner of four BDO World Championships and one as part of the Professional Darts Corporation, wrote: "Can't believe the news that Sid Waddell died yesterday i am emotional right now such a great personality and a good friend gonna miss you."

Waddell, Northumberland-born and a Cambridge graduate, was a central part of Sky Sports' coverage of PDC darts events since 1994. He was known for his colourful and excitable commentary style, with his best-known lines including "There's only one word for it - 'magic darts'."

Long-term colleague Dave Clark tearfully told Sky Sports News: "He was a brilliant man, a genius of the microphone - I'm going to miss my old mate, that's for sure. He had a child-like exuberance, he'd be bouncing round like a young puppy in the commentary box, and mix that with the intellect of Einstein." Clark added: "I know he's been really battling this cancer for a long, long time and what I hear from the family is it's a blessing that he's gone, but a tragedy."

Stephen Fry, who during a memorable guest appearance alongside Waddell in the Sky commentary box proclaimed himself "as happy as a pig in Chardonnay", also paid his respects via Twitter. Fry wrote: "Farewell Sid Waddell: Cambridge educated but always loyal to darts and his beloved NE: master of the wild epithet & the true voice of darts."

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott added: "Farewell to Sid Waddell - a man who did so much for darts and voiced so many memorable moments. A double top bloke."