Des O’Connor dead: Melanie Sykes leads tributes after TV legend’s death aged 88
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Devastated Melanie Sykes led the tributes to tragic TV legend Des O'Connor, whose death has been announced this morning.
The star passed away in his sleep following a fall at his family home. He was 88.
Des' agent said in a statement: "It is with great sorrow that I confirm that Des O'Connor passed away yesterday.
"He had been admitted to hospital just over a week ago, following a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire.
"Unfortunately yesterday evening his condition suddenly deteriorated and he drifted peacefully away in his sleep."
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Mel, a long-term friend and co-host on Today with Des and Mel, paid a heartbreaking tribute.
She wrote: "Des had the softest hands of anyone I ever met and the kindest of hearts. He had talent in every fibre of his being and was stubborn as a mule.
"He was the full ticket as a friend and colleague. When he chose me to be his co host on the ‘Today’ daytime show it was one the greatest days of my professional life. It was an education and a privilege to work with him for the years that followed.
"We worked long hours but always laughed lots, not least because when it it was showtime he would always tell me I looked like robbers dog! These years I will never forget and nor will I forget him. Darling Des you will be forever missed. Melanie x".
Carol will miss "darling Des" and paid an emotional tribute
Des is survived by his wife Jodie, their son Adam and his four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina.
Another of his former colleagues, Carol Vorderman, says she will desperately miss her friend.
She tweeted: "So sad this morning to hear that darling Des has passed away. He was the host of Countdown for a couple of years and was a joy to work with.
"Lively, funny, he ALWAYS wanted to entertain people. I will remember him most tho for his brilliant chat shows in the days when families would gather round the telly to watch , Des O'Connor was the King.
The death of the TV favourite led to an outpouring of emotion
"We'd cry laughing when Freddie Starr would pretend to be behaving and things would go badly wrong. Des will surely be entertaining the angels now. Rest In Peace & Laughter my friend."
The showbiz world have been paying their respects to the former Take Your Pick and Countdown favourite.
Actor and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth described Des as the "ultimate professional".
In a tweet he wrote: "Des O'Connor was such a nice, nice man. The ultimate professional, an impeccable entertainer, skilful, stylish, self-deprecating, fun to be with, lovely to know. One of the best. RIP Des – a privilege & a real pleasure to have known you. Thanks for the fun".
Des was loved by the stars and by his fans
Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan said: "RIP Des O’Connor. A wondrously talented, warm, funny, charming man. Truly one of the nicest people in showbiz. What very sad news. Thanks for all the fun, Des."
His singing career saw him sell more than 16 million records and the multi-talented star is clearly going to be missed.
TV funnyman Paddy McGuinness tweeted his memories.
He posted: "Such sad news. Des O’Connor was never afraid to laugh at himself and that was part of his charm. Whether it was Eric Morecambe ridiculing him, or Freddie Starr smashing his studio set up, Des always laughed along. Another part of my childhood telly viewing gone."
TV star Kate Robbins said the entertainer was a “true pro and a gorgeous person”.
Comedian David Baddiel wrote on twitter: “RIP Des O’ Connor. It’s worth remembering how brilliant he is at his own expense,” before posting a link to some of the star's old sketches.