Former player Wayne Mardle, who is now a commentator, said Bristow was the reason why he took up the game.
His final World Championship, in 2000, was his 23rd of an illustrious career which saw him win over 70 professional titles in total.
Get Me Out Of Here, wrote: "So very sad to hear about Eric Bristow tonight".
In 1989 year he married Jane and had two children, Louise in 1991 and James in 1993.
He said 'Eric will always be a legend in the world of darts and British sport. Get me Out of Here!, coming in fourth place, with EastEnders actress Charlie Brooks winning that year.More news: South Africa condemns Israeli forces' attack on Gazans
Born in east London, Bristow later relocated to Staffordshire where he proved instrumental in sponsoring and mentoring Phil Taylor during the early stages of the eventual 16-time World Champion's career.
Bristow was world champion five times between 1980 and 1986, capturing the imagination of a new generation of fans at a time when darts was reaching into the mainstream with increased TV coverage.
Fans and players reacted with shock and grief after his death was announced on Thursday evening.
"As a player he was larger than life and a joy to watch".
His most recent partner was Becky Gadd who he met in 2011.
Bristow eventually moved into broadcasting with Sky Sports, combining commentary duties with working as a spotter, plotting the checkouts for the players that viewers see on their screens.More news: Vernon Philander delights skipper Faf Du Plessis as South Africa crush Australia
"I'm known as the jungle man now, not as a darts player", said Bristow after appearing on ITV show I'm A Celebrity.
Ant, who hit headlines recently after he was charged with drink driving, recreated the moment Eric read out details of a Bushtucker trial to campmates.
He said in an interview with the Telegraph in 2011: "We never had any money when I was young".
Ricky added: "I'm into my darts, but he was unrecognisable".
"Hopefully I made it a bit popular when I first started, I was part of the breakaway, and I also created a monster, so I think I've done a little bit - and if you don't like it: up yours".More news: Oklahoma teachers chalk cars to spread message about needed funding