Eamonn's tribute to TV agony aunt Denise Robertson
Eamonn Holmes came into work while still on sick leave to pay tribute to breakfast TV agony aunt Denise Robertson, who died yesterday.
The Belfast-born presenter has been recovering from a double hip replacement op in February, but he made his way to the This Morning studio to lead an outpouring of tributes for his friend.
Adored by viewers of the show and best-known as a softly-spoken counsellor who offered advice to thousands, Robertson (83) died after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
She and Holmes worked together on a different show - Open Air - in the mid-1980s before Robertson was poached by This Morning.
Eamonn appeared on television yesterday as "moral support" for wife Ruth Langsford, who was visibly upset as she paid tribute to her colleague.
"I wanted to come in today but obviously I'm off on sick leave at the moment," Eamonn said.
"We have to tell you that Denise, our beloved Denise Robertson, has lost her battle with cancer."
He later tweeted: "Had to be here or she would have scolded me from above!"
Mrs Robertson announced she would be taking time off in February on receiving her diagnosis.
After she died at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, her family asked that Eamonn read out a statement in which they thanked the viewers and the doctors involved in her care.
It said: "It is with the deepest possible sorrow that we announce the passing of a very great lady.
"Our dearest Denise Robertson lost her short battle with cancer today at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.
"We send our gratitude to the many thousands of people who have sent messages of love and support and prayers during these difficult weeks. These sustained and delighted her immeasurably.
"The care Denise received from Professor Cunningham, Dr Tait and all the staff at the hospital was above and beyond anything we could have hoped for.
"The world has lost an extraordinary woman.
"We know that her ITV family, the This Morning viewers and the incalculable numbers of people she has helped and causes she has championed during her 83 years will be grieving with us at this intensely painful time."
A number of television personalities joined in sending their condolences.
This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby said: "She was a huge, huge part of the family.
"When I joined she welcomed me in with open arms. She has just been so wonderful listening to stories I've had to tell her and bits backstage.
"Whatever she did on screen was the tip of the iceberg for me because she continued to help people and do so much behind the scenes that nobody saw.
"She was a real fighter for everybody - there was nothing she wouldn't do. It's just so sad, so, so sad."