Des O’Connor has died at the age of 88, his agent has said.
The entertainer had been admitted to hospital just over a week ago following a fall at his Buckinghamshire home but was recovering and in ‘great spirits’ while being visited by his family – in accordance with hospital lockdown regulations.
O’Connor had been ‘looking forward to going home’ but his condition ‘suddenly deteriorated’ and he ‘drifted peacefully away in his sleep’ last night, his longtime agent and family friend Pat Lake-Smith said.
Paying tribute through a statement, the agent added: ‘Des, who was 88, was so well loved by absolutely everyone.
Des O’Connor has died at the age of 88, his agent has said (pictured: Des O’Connor on The Alan Titchmarsh Show, 2011)
Success: Des has had a successful career as a presenter with his hosting credits including Countdown, Today with Des and Mel and Des O’Connor Tonight (pictured in 1968)
Veteran entertainer Des O’Connor poses with his CBE for services to entertainment and broadcasting after it was presented to him by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, 2008
Des O’Connor and wife Jodie at the National Television Awards at the Royal Albert Hall, 2002
Legends: The presenter pictured with his former co-host Melanie Sykes in 2003 after winning a Royal Television Society Programme Award for their show Today With Des and Mel
‘He was a joy to work with – he was talented, fun, positive, enthusiastic, kind and a total professional.
‘He loved life, and considered enthusiasm almost as important as oxygen. He adored his family – they were everything to him. He is survived by his wife Jodie, their son Adam and his four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina.
‘Jodie’s world is shattered, she and Adam and Des’s daughters are hurting more than you could possibly imagine.
‘Des was the ultimate entertainer. He loved being on stage – entertaining a live audience.
‘He always said the sound of laughter was like the sound of heavenly music.
‘He had a fabulous international TV career, presenting his own prime-time TV shows for over 45 years.
Legend: Des O’Connor (centre) appeared in good spirits as he celebrated Bonnie Lythgoe’s 70th birthday party at The Ivy in London with his celebrity pals in 2019
Des O’Connor joins the cast of musical’ Dreamboats and Petticoats’ Playhouse Theatre, London, October 2011
The entertainer had been admitted to hospital just over a week ago following a fall at his Buckinghamshire home (pictured: Des O’Connor with the Spice Girls)
O’Connor had been ‘looking forward to going home’ but his condition ‘suddenly deteriorated’ and he ‘drifted peacefully away in his sleep’ last night, his longtime agent and family friend Pat Lake-Smith said (pictured: Cilla Black and Des O’connor with Anthony Andrews, October 2011)
‘On stage he starred at almost every leading venue throughout the world.’
O’Connor presented his own prime-time TV shows for over 45 years.
He was known for shows like Today With Des And Mel and Des O’Connor Tonight.
TV star Kate Robbins said Des O’Connor was a ‘true pro and a gorgeous person’.
She tweeted: ‘I’m so sad to hear that the wonderful Des O’Connor has died. He was a true pro and a gorgeous person. My love to Jodie and all his family at this sad time. Rest in peace Des. You are sorely missed already #RipDesOConnor’.
Gyles Brandreth described Des O’Connor as the ‘ultimate professional’.
In a tweet he wrote: ‘Des O’Connor was such a nice, nice man. The ultimate professional, an impeccable entertainer, skilful, stylish, self-deprecating, fun to be with, lovely to know. One of the best. RIP Des – a privilege & a real pleasure to have known you. Thanks for the fun’.
Red Dwarf star Danny John-Jules paid tribute to the late Des O’Connor on Twitter, sharing a picture of them together.
Alongside it he wrote: ‘RIP Des O’Connor. A lovely man…’
Melanie Sykes, who hosted Today With Des And Mel alongside O’Connor, said it was an ‘education and a privilege to work with him’.
She wrote on Instagram: ‘Des had the softest hands of anyone I ever met and the kindest of hearts.
‘He had talent in every fibre of his being and was stubborn as a mule. He was the full ticket as a friend and colleague.
‘When he chose me to be his co host on the ‘Today’ daytime show it was one the greatest days of my professional life. It was an education and a privilege to work with him for the years that followed.
‘We worked long hours but always laughed lots, not least because when it it was showtime he would always tell me I looked like robbers dog! These years I will never forget and nor will I forget him. Darling Des you will be forever missed. Melanie x’.