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Gogglebox star June Bernicoff has died at the age of 82, Channel 4 has announced.
The much-loved TV personality was “at home with her family by her side” and died after a short illness, the broadcaster said.
A statement from Channel 4 and production company Studio Lambert said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that Gogglebox’s much-loved June Bernicoff passed away at the age of 82 on May 5 at home with her family by her side after a short illness.
“As the first couple to be cast for Gogglebox back in 2013, June and her husband Leon were a huge part of the programme‘s success.
Absolutely heartbroken to tell you that our beloved June Bernicoff passed away on Tuesday following a short illness - it was not related to Covid-19. June & Leon were the #Gogglebox originals & a huge part of the showâs success. I adored them both. Big kiss June darling â¤ï¸ pic.twitter.com/3yi3qdohiQ— Tania Alexander (@Tanialalexander) May 8, 2020
“Their warmth, wit and contrasting personalities endeared them to the nation during the course of the first 10 series.”
The broadcaster said her death was not related to Covid-19.
A number of celebrities paid tribute to June following the announcement of her death.
Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt said that she would be “missed by all”.
Alongside an image of her with husband Leon, she said that June was “reunited” with her “true love”.
TV presenter Rylan Clark-Neal, who has appeared on Celebrity Gogglebox, tweeted to say that it was “very sad news about June”, adding: “Sending love to her family.”
Sandi Bogle, who also starred on the Channel 4 programme, said it was “so sad the beautiful June Bernicoff has sadly passed away”.
Actress Frances Barber said news of June’s death had made her “weep”, adding that she “adored” her and Leon, who were a “wonderful couple”.
Following husband Leon’s death in December 2017, June wrote her first book, Leon And June: Our Story, about their 60-year love affair.
Despite her departure from the show in 2017, she remained a passionate supporter of the programme, watching it every week, and she was in regular contact with the production teamChannel 4
The statement to the PA news agency said: “Our thoughts are with June’s family – Helen and Ian, Julie and Marc, and her beloved grandchildren Frances, Sam and Faye.
“The family would like to ask for privacy at this sad time, but would like to thank the hospice staff that supported them and cared for June so wonderfully and with such compassion in her final weeks.”
June was a “remarkably independent, principled woman with a vivacious sense of humour and a huge passion for life”, the channel said.
She “will be dearly missed by the entire Gogglebox family, cast and crew.
“Despite her departure from the show in 2017, she remained a passionate supporter of the programme, watching it every week, and she was in regular contact with the production team.”