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Comedian Frank Carson died penniless, documents show

Comedian Frank Carson died penniless despite working almost up to his death last year, it has emerged.

The Belfast-born comedian was still performing in up to 80 events annually until he died of stomach cancer at the age of 85 last February.

Famous for his catchphrase 'it's a cracker', the former paratrooper was beloved by millions who watched him on television over the years.

The Daily Mail Online said documents it has seen showed his family were left with just £8,013 but once debts and expenses were paid his will states that he died penniless as "the net value of such estate is nil".

Probate documents showed Carson wanted to leave two houses – one each to son Anthony and daughter Majella, but that was not possible.

His will also revealed that Carson had also been shrewd, leaving a second estate in Spain which covered a third property.

In the 2010 document, he wrote: "This does not apply to my property in Spain which is dealt with under the terms of a will made in accordance with the laws of that country."

Carson grew up in an area of north Belfast known as Little Italy. The son of a binman, he worked as a plasterer and electrician before joining the Parachute Regiment. He served three years in the Middle East in the 1950s before turning to showbusiness.

Starting his career in pubs and clubs, Carson became famous after winning the ITV talent show Opportunity Knocks.

He became a regular on the 1970s TV show The Comedians which brought him to a huge national audience and made him a household name.

The one-liner specialist lived in Blackpool with his wife Ruth and had been ill with heart problems for five years before his death.

Carson carried out tireless charity work leading to him being made a Knight of St Gregory by Pope John Paul II in 1987, one of the highest honours in the Catholic Church.

His charity work included helping to raise £130,000 for the children's cancer ward at Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Belfast Telegraph