Sir Bruce Forsyth, the veteran entertainer and presenter of many successful TV shows, has died aged 89.
The former Strictly Come Dancing presenter had been unwell for some time and was in hospital earlier this year after a severe chest infection.
His long career in showbusiness began when he was aged just 14.
He became Britain’s best-paid TV star, famous for hosting game shows like The Generation Game, Play Your Cards Right and The Price is Right.
He also presented BBC One’s Strictly with Tess Daly from 2004 to 2014.
A statement from his manager, Ian Wilson, said: “It is with great sadness that the Forsyth family announce that Sir Bruce passed away this afternoon, peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife Wilnelia and all his children.
“A couple of weeks ago, a friend visited him and asked him what he had been doing these last 18 months.
“With a twinkle in his eye, he responded ‘I’ve been very, very busy… being ill!'”
Sir Bruce’s family expressed their thanks to “the many people who have sent cards and letters to Bruce wishing him well over his long illness and know that they will share in part, the great, great loss they feel”.
They said there would be no further comment at the moment and asked for their privacy to be respected “at this most difficult time”.
BBC director general Sir Tony Hall described Sir Bruce as “one of the greatest entertainers our country has ever known”.
“He has delighted millions of people and defined Saturday night television for decades, with shows like the Generation Game and, most recently, Strictly,” he said.
“His warmth and his wit were legendary. I’ve never seen anyone quite like him when it comes to performing in front of a crowd.
“He had a remarkable chemistry with his audience – that’s what made him such an amazing professional and why he was so loved. He has been part of all of our lives, and we’ll miss him dearly.”
Strictly presenter Claudia Winkleman, who replaced Sir Bruce after he left the show, tweeted that he was “the King of TV, the Prince of performers and the most generous of people… all toe-tapping twinkle, all kindness, all love….
“The Bruce you saw really was the man he was. We’ll miss him so much.”
Sir Bruce had not been seen in public recently, due to ill health. He was too frail to attend the funerals of close friends Ronnie Corbett and Sir Terry Wogan last year.
In 2015, the presenter underwent keyhole surgery after suffering two aneurysms, which were discovered following a fall at his Surrey home.
‘A very special, special man’
TV executive and former BBC chairman Sir Michael Grade described his friend as “an absolute master and a lovely man to boot”.
He added: “He was loyal, he was a very special, special man.
“I’ve grown up with Bruce – he and I have been friends and we’ve worked together over the years. I spent a morning with him at his house two weeks ago. He had a wonderful twinkle in his eye and he was battling, battling.
“It was very sad to see him infirm at the end. I said as I left him, Bruce, you’ve still got the twinkle.”
Sir Michael also praised Sir Bruce’s ability to manage his career, saying: “He was a very smart picker of knowing what the right formats were for him.
“He was very canny – we only know about the shows he said yes to, what we don’t know are the hundreds of ideas he said, ‘That’s not for me.’ He had the smartness – that’s the sign of a great star.”
Actress Kara Tointon, who won Strictly in 2010, tweeted: “An absolute showbiz legend…Rest in Peace Sir Bruce Forsyth.”
In an interview last October, his wife said he was still having “a bit of a problem moving”. She said: “He’s in incredible shape mentally but he gets very tired.”
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