Entertainer Des O’Connor has died aged 88

His agent and long-time friend described O'Connor as "the ultimate performer"

Tributes have poured in following the news that entertainer, TV presenter and singer Des O’Connor has died at the age of 88.

O’Connor died on Saturday (November 14) after a fall at his home a few days prior, according to his longtime agent and family friend Pat Lake-Smith.

Lake-Smith 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.

“He was recovering well and had been in great spirits, visited by his family – in accordance with hospital lockdown regulations – and looking forward to going home. Unfortunately yesterday evening his condition suddenly deteriorated and he drifted peacefully away in his sleep.”

Des O'Connor 1966
Des O’Connor performing on stage at the Royal Variety Show in 1966. Credit: M. McKeown/Express/Getty Images

He added: “Des, who was 88, was so well-loved by absolutely everyone. He was a joy to work with – he was talented, fun, positive, enthusiastic, kind and a total professional.

“He loved life, and considered enthusiasm almost as important as oxygen. He adored his family – they were everything to him. He is survived by his wife, Jodie, their son, Adam, and his four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina.

“Jodie’s world is shattered. She and Adam and Des’s daughters are hurting more than you could possibly imagine.

“Des was the ultimate entertainer. He loved being on stage – entertaining a live audience. He always said the sound of laughter was like the sound of heavenly music. He had a fabulous international TV career, presenting his own prime-time TV shows for over 45 years. On stage he starred at almost every leading venue throughout the world.”

Des O'Connor 2
Credit: David Farrell/Redferns/Getty

O’Connor was known for his decades-long prime-time TV career, including shows such as Des O’Connor Tonight and Today With Des And Mel.

He was also a successful pop singer, having recorded 36 albums and achieved four top 10 singles across a career spanning several decades. O’Connor had been featured in the NME back in 1968 – a fact the presenter celebrated in 2018 by sharing an image of the piece on Twitter. “My mug on the pages of NME in 1968. Good times,” he captioned the post.

In 2008, O’Connor was made a CBE for his services to entertainment and broadcasting in the Queen’s birthday honours.

Kim Wilde paid tribute to O’Connor on Twitter, recalling “gorgeous memories of singing ‘Something Stupid’ with Des O’Connor” and an accompanying picture of the pair performing. “Thanks for the memories you lovely man,” she added.

Olly Murs wrote: “Very sad news to hear Des O’Connor has died, to be on his show in 2012 was a highlight after watching him throughout my childhood. An icon on TV, a gentleman and one of the best! Rest in peace Des x”

Paddy McGuinness described it as “such sad news” on Twitter: “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. RIP Des O’Connor”