TRIBUTES have poured in from the world of darts for PDC co-founder Tommy Cox, who passed away on Wednesday following illness, aged 72.
A former players' manager, Tommy linked up with Dick Allix and John Markovic alongside 14 stars of the sport to form the World Darts Council (now PDC) in 1993.
Tommy took on the role of Tournament Director, a position he held for over 20 years until his retirement in 2015 as he organised the formats and smooth running of PDC events.
He was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame in 2010 alongside Allix, recognising their contribution in the formation and success of the Professional Darts Corporation.
Since his passing on Wednesday, touching tributes have been paid by PDC players, officials and supporters, including a minute's applause before Thursday evening's play at the bwin Grand Slam of Darts (pictured).
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn
"Tommy's contribution to our formation can never be under-stated and will never be forgotten.
"He was known and respected throughout the sport and I know that he was proud of the worldwide growth of the PDC since he stood shoulder to shoulder with Dick and the players during darts' split.
"I can honestly say that Tommy was one of the primary reasons why I got involved in darts. He encouraged me to get into the sport and it's something I'll never forget.
"Although he had retired, Tommy was still involved in darts in recent years and will be sadly missed."
PDC Director Marcus Robertson
"Tommy Cox was, more than any other individual, the founding father of the modern day PDC and the sport of darts.
"His 100% belief that darts had a better future that could only be provided by the PDC has been proved by the last 25 years as the sport has grown across the globe.
"At heart more than anything else Tommy was a true lover of the sport of darts and darts players. The current and future generations of Players are reaping the rewards that his tenacity and, he would admit, occasional sheer singleness of purpose, have created."
PDC Director Rod Harrington
"The PDC wouldn't where it is today if it wasn't for Tommy. He was so strong - bombastic in a way - and such a great character and he believed in the cause, which made everyone else stay strong around him, including me.
"He became a very close friend, especially during the split. We've had some good times over the years and we had a lot of respect for each other."
PDC Co-Founder Dick Allix
Very sad news. Tommy Cox, my fellow ‘pirate’ in the formation of @OfficialPDC passed away this morning. Sleep well, mate. So many good memories. My condolences Norma & The Family— The Allix Co - Dick (@AllixRichard) November 14, 2018
PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter
So sad that one of the most important people in darts history, Tommy Cox, has passed away.— Matthew Porter (@MattPorter_PDC) November 14, 2018
Tommy was one of the founders of the PDC and its Tournament Director for many years.
Darts wouldn't be where it is today without his involvement and we will miss him terribly. RIP Tommy.
16-time World Champion Phil Taylor
Sad news this morning heard of the passing of @TommyCox_PDC thoughts are with his family RIP Tom.— Phil Taylor (@PhilTaylor) November 14, 2018
Two-time World Champion Dennis Priestley
So sad to hear the news that my long time friend Tommy Cox has passed away. Without Tommy the @OfficialPDC would not be what it is today. My thoughts go out to his wife Norma, his children and the rest of the Cox family at this tragic time. He will be greatly missed #riptommy— Dennis Priestley (@denpriestley180) November 14, 2018
1983 World Champion Keith Deller
Sad to hear the news of our friend Tommy Cox who passed away. For the darting World to know, when the split happened Tommy had the belief that the WDC which is now the PDC could be something special and backed it with his own money. RIP mate— Keith Deller (@KDeller138) November 14, 2018
Sky Sports Commentator John Gwynne
So very sorry to learn of the death, after illness, of Tommy Cox. His influence on the sport of darts is immense. What the PDC is today is as much down to his commitment and sacrifice as that of any other single person. I am indebted to him, for sure. RIP, my friend. #darts #PDC— John Gwynne (@OnlyJohnGwynne) November 14, 2018
So sad to that darts legend Tommy Cox has passed away.— Rob Cross (@RobCross180) November 14, 2018
Tommy was a huge character who helped shaped the sport into the massive success it is today.
Condolences to his family x pic.twitter.com/rZmgn4v86c
RIP @TommyCox_PDC our thoughts go out to all your family. What you did for darts will never be forgotten.— Gary Anderson (@GaryAnderson180) November 14, 2018
Raymond van Barneveld
Just heard about the passing of Tommy Cox. Can’t believe it. Such a nice man who brought the PDC where it is today and whose knowledge made the game better and better. Really sad day for darts. RIP Tommy🙏🏻— Raymond v Barneveld (@Raybar180) November 14, 2018
Sad news about Tommy Cox passing away. He’s been such a good man who’s done so much for the professional sports. RIP Tommy— Mensur Suljovic (@MensurSuljovic) November 14, 2018
Very sad to hear that Tommy Cox has passed away.— Simon Whitlock (@SWhitlock180) November 14, 2018
I will never forget what he did for the game I love and the opportunities that he created for me and others to live our dreams.
He was very welcoming when I moved from Australia to join the PDC.
He will be missed but not forgotten.
Sad to hear the news that Tommy Cox has passed away. Tommy & his family made my dream of playing on the PDC circuit a reality and I will always be grateful to them for that. He will be sorely missed by all. Thoughts are with all the family, RIP Tommy x— Jamie Lewis (@jamiedarts180) November 14, 2018
Sad news has reached us today, the passing away of the co-founder of the PDC Tommy Cox ! A big thank you to that man is in place, he is one off the reasons us pro dart players can to this job like we have it today ! RIP Tommy ! ⚫️— Kim Huybrechts🇧🇪 (@KimHuybrechts) November 14, 2018
Sorry to hear of the passing of @TommyCox_PDC a lovely man and PDC wouldn't exist without him.— Robbie green (@kongdarts) November 14, 2018
My thoughts are with the family
God bless pal x
Sad to hear the news of the passing of Tommy Cox,a top man who got the PDC up and running..RIP Tom 😪— Kevin Painter (@OfficialKP180) November 14, 2018