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Tuesday 6 December 2016

'Ta-rah Chuck' - pop star and TV legend Cilla dies in Spain

Cilla Black
Cilla Black

Tributes have poured in for Cilla Black after the much-loved entertainer died at her home in the south of Spain.

The former pop star and television presenter, who lived in Estepona on the Costa del Sol, was 72.

Black - who suffered from hearing problems and arthritis - reportedly died overnight after flying to Spain with her son Robert.

Her publicist Nick Fiveash said in a brief statement: "It is with deep sorrow that I confirm today the passing of singer and TV personality Cilla Black.

Gifted

"Details of her death will be announced following the coroner's report. Her family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time."

Singer Sir Cliff Richard said he will miss his "outrageous" friend dearly.

"Some people will always be with us and Cilla is one of those people," he said.

"I will always think of her as outrageous, funny, incredibly gifted but above all full of heart.

"She was a very special person, and I have lost a very wonderful friend, I will miss her dearly. God bless her."

Friend and fellow presenter Christopher Biggins, who starred alongside Cilla in Surprise! Surprise!, described Black as a "national treasure" adding that she will "always be with me".

"It's devastating news, really devastating," he said.

"She was a wonderful friend. She was someone who was a life force, she loved to laugh and loved to enjoy herself."

Michael Grade, former executive chairman of ITV, said Cilla was "a natural, natural performer of the highest quality," and "one of the all time greats in showbiz".

"She always felt like a friend in your living room when she was on TV. A magical lady.

"She had a huge, huge talent once she got her confidence. She became a national favourite, an enduring family favourite."

Born as Priscilla Maria Veronica White in Liverpool, Black had spoken of how she would die happy if she were to pass away before any illness could rob her of being able to enjoy life.

As the much-loved entertainer approached her 71st birthday last year, she said that 75 might be an okay age to die.

Transformed

She became one of the nation's favourite entertainers after transforming herself from a successful singer in the 1960s to become the presenter of shows such as Blind Date and Surprise! Surprise!

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.

Bruce Forsyth said he could not believe that Black had died aged 72 as he still thought of her as a "kid".

The TV presenter and entertainer said that Black was loved by everyone and had the "common touch".

Bruce (87), told ITV News: "Bobby will be there to meet her, she never really got over Bobby her husband leaving when he did.

"What a lovely performer, what a lovely lady and we're going to miss you."

Singer and broadcaster Des O'Connor said: "If ever the words 'The One And Only' applied to anyone it was Cilla. She really was unique.

"As a friend she was always fun to be with, kind, generous, and caring, a very special lady."

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