Sister of Cliff Richard dies aged 73 in an 'absolutely depressing' year for the singer
Published 09/08/2016 | 12:20
The sister of Sir Cliff Richard has died just months after the singer emerged from two years of ‘living hell’ over sex abuse allegations.
A spokesman confirmed Donna Gordon, 73, died of natural causes but it is thought she had been suffering with illness for some time.
It is understood the singer performed to thousands at a concert in Vejle, Denmark, on Saturday 6, despite having learnt of his sister’s death.
A source close to Sir Cliff told the Daily Mail that the two siblings had a strong bond.
The source said: “You can imagine what it was like to be a teenager in the 1950s and your brother is one of Britain's biggest stars.
“She used to transcribe lyrics off the latest American singles so he and his early group The Drifters could play them. Cliff has always been close to his family.”
The death is the newest in a series of heartbreak for the star, who said his life was "effectively turned upside down" after being accused of historic sex offences.
Officers investigating allegations were filmed searching Sir Cliff's apartment in Berkshire in August 2014 by the BBC, leading to him being publicly named as part of the probe.
South Yorkshire Police dropped their investigation against Sir Cliff in June this year and the 75-year-old was never arrested or charged.
Tony Rivers, a former bandmate of Sir Cliff, said the singer had experienced 'two years of hell'.
Writing in a post on Facebook, he said:
“What a bad year this has been with so many artists passing on, and other things contributing, but it has been absolutely depressing for Sir Cliff, two years of hell, with the totally unsubstantiated accusations he's had to live with, other problems and just when the BBC/Police stuff was dropped, he has lost his close family member Donna (his sister) who passed away a day or so ago.
“Through all this he toured recorded and carried on seemingly oblivious to what he was living with. He always had my support, never a doubt for me, even wrote about it in my book.
“A change of luck for the future Cliff, [I am] completely with you.”
Mrs Gordon was the eldest of Sir Cliff’s three sisters - survived by Joan, (66), and Jacqui, (68).
She lived in the village of Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, with her husband Terry, who makes weapons and armour for film and television, the Daily Mail reported.
It is thought the couple have two adopted children from Vietnam, who have grown up and no longer live at home.