Legendary entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth has died at the age of 89, it has been announced.
The iconic TV host and entertainer was known for a hugely successful career spanning over 75 years.
In a statement, 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!
“Unfortunately, not long after this, his health deteriorated and he contracted bronchial pneumonia.
“The family would like to express 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. There will be no further comment at the moment and it would be much appreciated if the privacy of Sir Bruce’s family is respected at this most difficult time.”
Sir Bruce was born in Edmonton, North London, in 1928, and began a long career in showbusiness at the age of 14 after being inspired by legendary dancer Fred Astaire.
His first big break came in 1958 when an appearance with comedian Dickie Henderson directly led to him being offered the role of compere on Sunday Night At The London Palladium.
During his lengthy career, he cemented his status as a TV icon by hosting shows such as The Generation Game, Play Your Cards Right, and The Price Is Right.
His sustained popularity also extended into the 21st century, when he became the host of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing for a 10 year stint between 2004 and 2014.
In 2013, he appeared at Glastonbury Festival for the first time ever, performing a cabaret routine to a packed-out Avalon Stage crowd.
Sir Bruce had been in ill health in recent years, having undergone keyhole surgery in 2015 after suffering two aneurysms which were initially discovered after he fell at his home in Surrey.
Paying tribute, the official BBC Strictly account wrote: “RIP Sir Bruce”.
RIP Sir Bruce… https://t.co/gd4wChpikM
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) August 18, 2017
Strictly Come Dancing hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly also hailed him for his authenticity. “The Bruce you saw really was the man he was. We’ll miss him so much”, Winkleman wrote.
The Bruce you saw really was the man he was. We'll miss him so much.
— Claudia Winkleman (@ClaudiaWinkle) August 18, 2017
— Tess Daly (@TessDaly) August 18, 2017
BBC director general 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.”