In a contest that finished after midnight, Van Gerwen was always chasing Cross as the players traded sets, until nudging ahead for the first time at 5-4.
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.
Sheppey Darts Classic champion Rob Cross capped an extraordinary debut season as a professional with a stunning PDC world title win at Alexandra Palace on Sunday.
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.
Cross won the first three sets without reply, taking out 167 to win the second and 153 to claim the third as he took nine of the opening 11 legs.
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Adrian Young , a senior consultant for To70, told the Independent it is "unlikely that this historic low will be maintained". Compass Group chief Richard Cousins died along with several family members in an accident that killed six people.
"It was an old man against a young man".
Earlier, provisional-round qualifier Lewis missed several darts at key stages as the experience of Taylor reaped dividends. The former electrician is now £400,000 richer after beating 16-time world champion Phil Taylor 7-2 in the Power's last-ever match.
It would have been an historic way to end his final match as a pro.
From that famous Jeremy Guscott drop goal to win the 1997 series for the British and Irish Lions in South Africa to England regaining The Ashes, European Ryder Cup success under Monty, and Andy Murray's first Grand Slam success, Taylor has pretty much seen it and done it all! But the emotion of missing that ideal leg perhaps played on Taylor's feelings as he lost the next three legs to fall 4-1 behind. Taylor was reeling but pinned a brilliant 151 checkout to send him on the way to a whitewash in the fourth set.