Comedian Eddie Large, best known for being part of double act Little and Large, has died with coronavirus.
The star, 78, was a well known face on TV in the 1970s and 80s and was famous for his partnership with Syd Little.
His family confirmed the news “with great sadness” on Facebook, saying he had been suffering with heart failure and contracted the virus in hospital.
“Dad fought bravely for so long,” they wrote.
“Due to this horrible disease we had been unable to visit him at the hospital but all of the family and close friends spoke to him every day.
“We will miss him terribly and we are so proud of everything he has achieved in his career with Syd and know that he was much loved by the millions that watched them every week.”
Reacting to the news, TV hosts Ant and Dec said the entertainer, who they recently worked with, “will be missed”.
“He just loved making people laugh,” they wrote.
Large, whose real name was Hugh McGinnis, was born in Glasgow but grew up in Manchester.
He formed double act Little and Large with Syd Little in 1963. They went on to win Opportunity Knocks and had a long-running comedy show on BBC One in the 1970s and 80s.
The sketch-based show was as a fixture of Saturday evening TV, with Little mainly acting as the butt of Large’s cheeky humour.
The star, who had a heart transplant in 2003, lived in Portishead, near Bristol in recent years.
Fellow comics including Little Britain’s Matt Lucas paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “Eddie Large (along with his supersonic friend Syd) was really lovely and kind and encouraging to me when I was a nipper on Shooting Stars. So sad to hear of his passing.”
Actress Kate Robbins described him as a “great chap”.
“Sorry to hear the comedian Eddie Large has died,” she tweeted. “A real pro. Rest in peace Eddie”.
‘Gentle, funny man’
Jason Manford added: “So sorry to hear about Eddie Large passing away.
“Came to every comedy and musical show I did whenever I hit Bristol and was always around for a chat about comedy and Man City afterwards. Such a gentle, funny man. RIP Eddie.”
Manchester City Football Club also paid tribute to Large, who was a lifelong fan, saying everyone at the club was sad at the news.
“Our thoughts are with Eddie’s friends and family at this difficult time.”
Large formed the double act Little and Large with Syd Little in 1963.
They went on to win Opportunity Knocks and had a long-running comedy sketch show on BBC One in the 1970s and 80s.
In its heyday, their BBC One show was a staple of early Saturday evening TV entertainment, drawing millions of viewers.
Large previously had problems with his heart, and had a heart transplant in 2003, a year after he had been treated for an undisclosed heart problem.
‘Rude, raucous and rollicking’
Another comic, Sir Lenny Henry recalled seeing him perform in Great Yarmouth in 1978 and how he had “never heard laughter like it”.
Tommy Cannon, of Cannon and Ball-fame, said he was “devastated” to hear of the death of his “good friend”.
“Eddie Large has passed.. very heavy hearts at home today,” he wrote. “Mine and Hazels hearts go out to Patsy and the family.”
“Dear Eddie Large – thank you for the laughter and joy,” added 80s TV comedy character Timmy Mallett.
While Michael Barrymore described Large as “such a funny and talented man.”
“I was his support act for many years and he was nothing but kind caring and supportive to the upstart at the bottom of the Bill,” posted Barrymore on Twitter.