Sir Bruce Forsyth, one of Britain’s best-loved television stars, has died aged 89.
The showbiz legend’s manager said that Forsytth had died at home, with is wife Wilnelia and his six children by his side, The Sun reported.
Forsyth, known fondly by fans as Brucie, had been sick for some time, having been admitted to hospital earlier this year with a chest infection.
Tony Hall, the director general of the BBC, released a statement calling Forsyth “one of the greatest entertainers our country has ever known”, while Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted that the UK had “lost a national treasure.”
We have lost a national treasure. Like millions of others, for years I watched Sir Bruce dance, sing, joke & laugh. He will be sorely missed
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) August 18, 2017
Forsyth had a record-breaking 78-year career on British screens, having made his first TV appearance at the age of 11, having taken up tap dancing after being inspired by a Fred Astaire film.
He was performing in his own song-and-dance act by 14 but didn’t hit the big time until he was 30, when he started hosting a weekly variety show called Saturday Night at the London Palladium, that became a huge hit. He went on to become the long-running host of popular game shows including The Price is Right and The Generation Game, which made him the UK’s best-paid TV star of the time.
More recently, he won a new generation of fans as the witty co-host of the BBC’s hit dance competition series Strictly Come Dancing from 2004 until he retired in 2014.
His Strictly co-host Tess Daly described him as a “gentleman and true legend”.
“I will never forget his generosity, his brilliant sense of humour and his drive to entertain the audiences he so loved,” she said.
The star received a knighthood in 2011 and his last appearance on TV was at Christmas 2015, when he sent a festive message to Strictly fans on the Christmas edition o f the show.
Forsyth had been married to Wilnelia, a former Miss World, for 36 years. The 59-year-old spoke last November to the Daily Mail about her husband’s health issues.
“He’s the man I fell in love with because his brain is there,” she said. “He has a bit of a problem moving, but we still laugh and talk. I pray, I believe. The main thing is that he’s doing well. The pain is more emotional. Sometimes we cry, but mostly we laugh.”
Tributes to Forsyth flooded social media as news of his death broke, with the London Palladium promising to dim its lights, stars sharing their memories of working with the entertainer and fans recalling experiences they had had with him.