Bobby Ball, one half of comedy double act Cannon & Ball, has died at the age of 76 after testing positive for Covid-19, his manager has said.
The comedian, actor and author had been in hospital with breathing problems.
A statement from his manager Phil Dale said: “It is with great personal sadness that on behalf of Yvonne Ball, and the family, and Tommy Cannon, I announce that Bobby Ball passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on the 28th October 2020 approximately 21:30.
“Bobby had been taken to the hospital for tests as he started with breathing problems.
“At first it was thought to be a chest infection but a test proved positive for Covid-19.
“His wife Yvonne said the hospital and staff could not have been more wonderful, as they were outstanding in their care of duty and they did everything possible for him and she cannot praise them enough.
“She said that the family and Tommy would like to express their sincere thanks to the many, many people who have been fans of Bobby and they know that they will all share in part the great loss and total sadness that Yvonne, the family and Tommy all feel.
“Yvonne added that their need for privacy at this time has to be a priority. No further announcements or statements will be made.”
Ball was born Robert Harper on January 28 1944 and found fame on the The Cannon & Ball Show opposite his lifelong friend Tommy Cannon.
He also appeared in TV series including Last Of The Summer Wine, Heartbeat, Mount Pleasant, Benidorm, The Cockfields and Not Going Out, and the duo appeared on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2005.
Cannon said: “Rock on, my good friend, I can’t believe this, I’m devastated.”
His wife Yvonne added: “I will always miss him, he was so joyful, full of fun and mischievous.”