The opening eight darts of the leg were flawless and, with the first World Championship nine-darter of his career in sight, he missed double 12 by the width of a wire.
Seeking a 17th world title in his final year on the professional circuit, Taylor was sensationally beaten 7-2 by tournament debutant Rob Cross, who only turned professional at the start of 2017.
"He was good. He was relentless, he just doesn't stop putting you under pressure, and that's the way I used to be".
"You've got someone who wants to win, I don't think the money with him is going to make a scrap of difference, you've got a little animal on your hands", Taylor said.
"He's dedicated, he's listened, learned and the players next year have got a big problem".
"But with what he's done for the game, for everything he's done I hope he has a happy retirement and I wish him all the best - he's brilliant". He rode his luck during his run to the final, surviving two match darts against Michael Smith in the second round and six match darts against Michael van Gerwen, ...
Taylor, 57 and universally seen as the greatest darts player in history, was looking to bow out with a 17th-world title, having reached his 21st world final overall, but even he could not cope with Cross' impressive scoring and finishing.
"It's been marvellous. I've had a fantastic career, (but with) the youngsters coming through I just can't do it anymore", Taylor said.
"It was like an old man against a young man, it was a mis-match".
Cross said: "I feel great but it's Phil's previous year and it's about him departing".
"It was my dream 15 years ago to play this guy and now I've played him, it's absolutely phenomenal".
And there are freaky similarities between him and Taylor - The Power was also a 125-1 outsider when he beat his mentor Eric Bristow, aged 29, in the 1990 final, his first appearance at world level.