The voice of professional darts has passed away at the age of 78. Dave Lanning’s passing was first announced in a tweet by the Professional Darts Corporation. Prior to the 2011 World Darts Championship, Lanning announced his retirement from sports commentary.
Lanning is survived by his wife, Leona, their three children and seven grandchildren. The North West Evening Mail reports that Lanning died after suffering a “short illness.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lanning Presented the First Professional Darts Corporation Championship in 1994
Lanning was honored for his work in establishing darts as a professional sport in 2008. Sky Sports reported that he and his announcing partner, Sid Waddell, had been honored with entry into the PDC Hall of Fame. Waddell said of Lanning at the time, “You need a bit of frisson and Dave Lanning is the master of the instant rapport. If I say parity, he says ‘sick as a parity’. It’s like Morecambe and Wise.”
Upon his retirement, the Daily Mail quoted Lanning as saying, “I don’t think my style ever really suited Sky. I found it difficult to scream loudly enough.”
Sid Waddell passed away in August 2012.
2. Lanning Was Also Known for His Work on Speedway Commentating
Since the 1960s, when he worked with the West Ham team, Lanning was also associated with speedway racing. In a tribute, the Poole Speedway team, where Lanning was brought up, said in a statement:
This is a very sad day. I had never met Dave until I took over the club here at Poole Speedway but knew him instantly just by his voice because of all the commentating he had done on the sport.
He has always been extremely supportive of Poole in particular and the sport as a whole. I think speedway should reflect on the great legacy that he has left the sport.
3. He Had a Cameo in the 1980s Movie ‘An American Werewolf in London’
Unusually for a darts commentator, Lanning’s voice is perhaps familiar to American audiences. During John Landis’ 1981 comedy/horror hit, An American Werewolf in London, Lanning can be heard commentating on a darts match between Rab Smith and Cliff Lazarenko.
4. His Passing Has Resulted in an Outpouring of Emotion on Twitter
Unsurprisingly, news of Lanning’s passing has resulted in an outpouring of emotion from friends, colleagues and fans on social media. Here are some of the most poignant tweets that help to celebrate the life of the great man:
5. Lanning Wrote Newspaper Columns for 30 Years
Outside of his announcing duties, Lanning wrote columns on speedway and darts for the Sun, TV Times and the Sunday People.