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Cilla Black died of stroke after hitting head in fall

By PA Reporters

Cilla Black died of a stroke after falling and hitting her head at her Spanish villa.

The singing and TV star was sunbathing at her villa on the Costa del Sol when she lost her balance, fell and hit her head, which knocked her unconscious.

A post-mortem revealed that she subsequently died of a stroke, a statement from her publicist said.

She would not have suffered, it added.

In a joint statement her three sons Robert, Ben and Jack said: "We are devastated by the sad loss of our mother, but have been deeply touched by all the kind messages of support from her friends, fans, the public and media.

"We would like to thank everyone, especially the people of Liverpool. The tributes and condolences have really helped us through these difficult times.

"The Spanish authorities have now told us we are able to bring mum home, which we hope to do as quickly as possible.

"We would also like to thank all those involved for their assistance with this matter. We respectfully request for our continued privacy to grieve."

No funeral details have yet been released. Tributes have continued to pour in for the Surprise Surprise star (below) led by close friends such as Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Paul McCartney and Christopher Biggins.

Sir Cliff revealed he was due to visit her in Spain next week.

"Her passing away is a particular shock because despite the aches and pains we all suffer, she was always so upbeat," he wrote in The Sun.

Her famous single, Anyone Who Had A Heart, and her album, The Very Best Of Cilla Black, are both featuring in the mid-week charts. The Official Charts company revealed Anyone Who Had a Heart jumped 32 places overnight, to put it at number 59.

Her album has climbed 43 places to number 25 on the charts.

Born Priscilla Maria Veronica White in Liverpool, she became one of the nation's favourite entertainers after transforming herself from a successful singer in the 1960s to the frontwoman on shows such as Blind Date and Surprise Surprise.

She scored two number ones in 1964 - Anyone Who Had A Heart and You're My World - as well as enjoying many other hits before going on to concentrate on TV.

She went on to host more than 500 editions of her programmes and was the first woman to have her own prime-time chat show on BBC1.

Earlier this week Ulster broadcaster Gloria Hunniford revealed how she had seen Cilla just a fortnight before her death at another friend's barbecue, and called her "a true icon".

"Two weeks ago today we were at a mutual friend's barbecue and I just can't believe it, really," said Gloria.

"Cilla had little niggly things that were wrong with her, like her eyesight, hearing and a bit of trouble with her knee and walking - but then anybody over 70 will recognise all of those."

Fellow Northern Ireland broadcaster Eamonn Holmes said her death marked "another passing of a legend". "Always loved being in her company," he tweeted.

"Condolences to Robert and family. She was a national treasure."

Beatles stars Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr both remembered her fondly.

Starr said she was a "good friend" who would be missed.

Sir Paul described her "as a lovely girl who infected everyone with her great spirit".

"From first meeting her as a cloakroom girl at The Cavern in Liverpool, to seeing her many times since, she always had a fun-loving dignity that made her a great pleasure to be around," the former Beatle said.

"She had a fine, distinctive voice and was always a bit of a laugh. It was a privilege to know and love her."

Belfast Telegraph


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