Jocky Wilson, darts legend, dies at 62

Darts in mourning after two-time world champion Wilson dies, aged 62

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UPDATED:

12:45 GMT, 25 March 2012

Former world darts champion Jocky Wilson has died at the age of 62.

Wilson, who won world titles in 1982 and 1989, had recently been suffering with a lung disorder and died at home in Kirkcaldy, Fife just two days after his birthday.

The Scotsman was rarely seen in public having retired from the sport in 1996.

Champion: Jocky Wilson, who won two world titles, has died aged 62

Champion: Jocky Wilson, who won two world titles, has died aged 62

A statement on the official Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) Twitter page read: 'We are very saddened to hear of the death of former World Champion Jocky Wilson. Simply devastated. #RIPJocky'

Wilson turned professional in 1979 and enjoyed a stellar career through to his retirement in 1996.

He reached at least the quarter-finals of every World Championship between 1979 and 1991 and was a four-time British champion between 1981 and 1988 and a three-time Scottish Masters champion.

Wilson's career saw him challenge Englishman Eric Bristow and John Lowe for the sport's major honours before his retirement.

His first victory in the World Championship came in 1982 when he beat Lowe 5-3 in the final.

Seven years later, he beat his other
great rival Bristow 6-4, in a match where the 'Crafty Cockney' had
recovered from 5-0 down to find himself at 5-4 and 2-2 in the tenth set.

He was also a founding member of the Professional Darts Corporation, established in 1993.

Fellow stars from the world of darts paid tribute to Wilson.

Jocky Wilson

Jocky Wilson

Popular: Wilson entered the sport as its appeal with the public began to grow

'He
was Scottish through and through. When he played against England, it
was great for the Scots,' another legend of that era, Bobby George, told
BBC Sport.

'He was like the Braveheart of darts.
He hated the English and wanted to beat them, he probably only got on
with me because my mum was Scottish. He really turned it on when he
played against England, he fought for the Scotsman in him.'

Three-time world champion Martin Adams remembers Wilson when he was at the very top.

'It's a sad day for darts, Jocky was a great champion and a great player,' he told the BBC.

'When Jocky was on song, there was no stopping him.

'I remember watching the 1989 final and Jocky was flying that day, he was in the groove.

'It's one of the best matches of all time. There were some great matches in that era and Jocky was involved in a lot of them.'

Legends: Wilson with fellow darts player Bobby George (right)

Legends: Wilson with fellow darts player Bobby George (right)

Bristow, George and Wilson took to the oche in an era before walk-on girls and music became commonplace at sold-out arenas, with tournaments rarely televised.

George, though, insists that times were better when he and Wilson were playing.

'It was more fun when we played,' he added.

'He didn't have much money so he didn't travel much. I remember once we were playing in America and I picked him up. When I lifted his suitcase, I was braced for the weight, but nearly fell over because there was nothing in it.

'When I asked him what was inside, he replied: “A pair of socks”. I asked why he'd got a suitcase when he only had a pair of socks, he said: “It looks better when you check into a hotel if you're carrying a suitcase”.

'What a boy!'

Commentator Sid Waddell tweeted: 'What can one say about the larger than
life character that was John Thomas Wilson. Darts legend, working class
hero and honorary Geordie.

Glory: Wilson twice won the world title

Jocky Wilson

Back in the day: Wilson returned to his home town after retiring from the sport

'I'd like to send condolences to Malvina and the rest of Jocky's family. Broader, despite his faults he had a heart of gold.'

Current
PDC star Wayne Mardle tweeted: 'Jocky Wilson the darting legend has
passed away. What a character, I loved watching him play'

Wilson was Scotland's first darts world champion but in 1996 he withdrew into a council flat aged 45 and admitted: 'I'm all washed up and finished with darts.'

Within two years, he was declared bankrupt, and was forced to survived on disability allowance, living as a recluse in a one-bedroom flat back on the council estate where he grew up.

In 1996 Wilson said: 'I've been let down once or twice in my life, but I
don't want anyone feeling sorry for me. There's only one person to
blame for the situation I'm in, and that's me.'

In an interview with the Observer in 2007, former close friend Jimmy Skirving said: 'You could always rely on him but I can assure you Jocky was taken advantage of. Once he won a holiday and some suitcases. He got home with neither – he sold the holiday for 50 quid and the cases for a tenner.'

Wilson was married to Argentinian-born Malvina, and had three children, a daughter Anne Marie, and two sons John and William.