The five-time world champion entered the Alexandra Palace arena to familiar cries of 'Barney Army' as the capacity crowd tried to will the popular Dutchman to one more victory.
But Van Barneveld - who won the BDO event four times before switching to the PDC circuit and beating Phil Taylor in 2007 for his fifth world title - could only find flashes of the magic that turned him into one of the sport's greatest-ever players.
Van Barneveld did hit five 180s and averaged 100.2 to win the second set.
But there were too many errant darts and the 52-year-old was furious with his performance.
"I played really bad," am emotional Van Barneveld told Sky Sports.
"I was surprised, nothing more. Darin played really good, all credit to him.
"I lost first round, in my disaster year. I will never forgive myself, never ever."
American left-hander Young took the first set 3-1 before Van Barneveld levelled the match with a second-set whitewash.
It looked as if the Dutchman was finding his groove, but the pattern of missing too many doubles continued.
Young won the last two sets 3-2 as Van Barneveld took his final leave at the World Championship.