Wednesday 7 December 2016

'My dad passed away and meteor flashes in the sky. What an exit' - son's tribute to late TV magician Paul Daniels

Tributes pour in for 'fantastic magician and fantastic showman'

Published 17/03/2016 | 08:50

Debbie McGee and Paul Daniels
Debbie McGee and Paul Daniels

Magician Paul Daniels has died after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, his publicist has said.

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The 77-year-old was at his Berkshire home with wife Debbie when he died in the early hours of Thursday.

A statement from his publicist said: "One of our most beloved entertainers, Paul Daniels, has passed away at the age of 77.

Read More: Paul Daniels: An entertainer with the magic touch

"The TV star, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier this year, passed away peacefully at home with Debbie at his side in the early hours of this morning.

"Debbie and the family would like to thank everyone for their support and asks that their privacy be respected at this sad time."

British magician Paul Daniels, accompanied by wife Debbie, leave a service of thanksgiving in memory of the late comic Les Dawson at Westminster Abbey, in London February 24, 1994
British magician Paul Daniels, accompanied by wife Debbie, leave a service of thanksgiving in memory of the late comic Les Dawson at Westminster Abbey, in London February 24, 1994
File photo dated 25/01/90 of magician Paul Daniels adopting the Marlene Dietrich look for an episode of his 'The Paul Daniels Magic Show' on BBC One, as Daniels has died today aged 77
Former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Paul Daniels, who has died aged 77 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, his publicist has said
File photo dated 19/12/85 of magician Paul Daniels conjuring up a festive pantomime for Boxing Day when he presents the fairy tale 'Snow White & the Seven Dwarves', as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 15/05/85 of magician Paul Daniels with his girl dancers from his award-winning Montreux Show, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 21/12/89 of magician Paul Daniels, who has died today aged 77
File photo dated 25/01/90 of magician Paul Daniels with his wife Debbie McGee, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 24/04/98 Magician Paul Daniels at a charity golf game, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 02/04/88 of TV magician Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee on their wedding day, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 09/12/03 of Paul Daniels and Wendy Richard, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 09/06/97 of magician Paul Daniels at rehearsals for his first West End role in Moliere's The School For Wives, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 08/09/10 of Paul Daniels during a photocall for the Strictly Come Dancing: Launch Show recording, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 24/04/98 Magician Paul Daniels at a charity golf game, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 29/03/10 of Sarah Harding, Paul Daniels and Una Healy attending Walkers Crisps' unveiling of its biggest ever campaign, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 26/02/07 of magician Paul Daniels and wife Debbie McGee, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 02/04/88 of TV magician Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee on their wedding day, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 07/03/06 of Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 10/03/09 of Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 02/02/82 of Paul Daniels with his award and the magician's traditional top hat after being named Show Business Personality of 1981 by the Variety Club of Great Britain, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 15/04/99 of magician Paul Daniels with his wife Debbie McGee, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 29/09/02 of Paul Daniels with his wife Debbie Magee, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo 29/03/10 of Paul Daniels and wife Debbie McGee, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 17/03/83 of magician Paul Daniels, who has died today aged 77
File photo dated 14/03/00 of Magician Paul Daniels with his wife Debbie Mcgee, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 26/02/07 of magician Paul Daniels gazing into a crystal ball at the Special Magician's Screening of The Illusionist at the Soho Hotel in central London, as Daniels has died today aged 77
File photo dated 11/03/08 of Paul Daniels, who has died today aged 77. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo

In an emotional tribute, Martin Daniels said a bright meteor flashed through the sky almost immediately after his father died.

He wrote today: 'My dad passed away and meteor flashes in the sky. What an exit.'

Earlier this month, Ms McGee thanked fans for their "wonderful messages" of support.

When Daniels fell at home in February, he was rushed to hospital, suspected of having suffered a stroke. He was later diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.

Read More: Debbie McGee thanks fans for Paul Daniels brain tumour support

McGee wrote on Twitter: "I wish I could answer all your wonderful messages individually but there are so many. They are all appreciated so much.

"Paul and I had no (idea) of how people felt. Truly amazing. Thank you."

One of the entertainer's three sons, Martin Daniels, had told the Sunday Mirror the family did not know how long his father had left.

He told the newspaper: "There's no treatment which can help him. Doctors haven't said how many weeks or months he might have - and we haven't asked.

"He knows things are not in his hands now and we are living in the knowledge every day is a bonus.

"It is unbearably difficult. He has said before 'When It's your time, it's your time' and that's how he is trying to face up to things."

His son Gary Daniels said on Twitter: "It is with incredible sadness that I can confirm that Dad, Paul Daniels, passed away over night."

The tweet included a picture of a rabbit in a magician's hat with a tear it its eye.

Celebrities have also started posting messages of tribute to the late magician on Twitter.

Britain's Got Talent magician Jamie Raven said: "I am so sorry to hear about the passing of @ThePaulDaniels all my thoughts are with @thedebbiemcgee & family".

Comedian Leigh Francis said: "Sad news about Paul Daniels".

Paul Chuckle, one half of TV's the Chuckle Brothers also posted on Twitter. "Sad to hear of the death of Paul Daniels RIP Paul our thoughts are with the family," he said.

Musical theatre's Darren Day said the late magician was "a nice man".

"RIP God bless @ThePaulDaniels Thoughts are with his family and friends. He was a nice man x".

Mark Linsey, acting director of BBC Television said: "Paul was an outstanding showman and one of the great entertainers of BBC television.

"His long-running magic show delighted viewers, as did his BBC One quiz shows Odd One Out, Wipeout and Every Second Counts and children's favourite Wizbit. He will be missed and our thoughts are with his family."

Musician Rick Wakeman, who played with David Bowie, tweeted: "I am so sad at so many friends passing away. Paul Daniels and Debbie were great friends & a wonderful couple. I shall miss Paul greatly."

Before his death, the magician encouraged members of the public to donate money for research into cancer.

A gofundmepage to raise funds was set up by his son Gary.

A message on Daniels' official Twitter page said: "If everyone donated just £1 we could give over £56000 to charity, this is to help others, not me."

Over the years, Daniels lent his time and support to various charities.

He entertained children at Great Ormond Street Hospital and took part in numerous charity events, especially those with children at their heart.

Last year, he supported the Garden Re-Leaf appeal, which aimed to raise funds to support families who use children's hospices around the UK.

The most touching tribute on social media came from the magician's son Gary.

His message was accompanied by a picture of a black hat with a crying white rabbit inside. On the outside of the hat is an Ace of Hearts playing card, with the heart depicted as broken.

The text read: "It is with incredible sadness that I can confirm that Dad, @ThePaulDaniels, passed away overnight."

When his BBC series was axed in 1994 after 15 years on air, Daniels presented game shows and he also participated in various TV shows.

He was seen in the likes of ITV's The X Factor: Battle Of The Stars and Channel 4's Celebrity Wife Swap, in which he tried living with broadcaster Vanessa Feltz.

In 2001, the magician and his wife were the subject of BBC documentary maker Louis Theroux's When Louis Met... series.

On Twitter, Theroux said: "RIP Paul Daniels, a thoughtful skeptic, enemy of hucksterism and paranormal flimflam, and gifted magician. My condolences to his family."

Alongside Ms McGee, Daniels also signed on for Channel 5's The Farm in 2004, only to quit the rural reality show after a bust-up with fellow participant Vanilla Ice.

In 2010, Daniels donned a tuxedo for Strictly Come Dancing and was partnered with Ola Jordan.

He became the second celebrity to be voted off the show.

After the elimination, he said: "I've had a wonderful time on Strictly Come Dancing - I really have. If I hadn't had a good time, I'd tell you!"

Irish mentalist and magician Keith Barry paid tribute to the late magician today, describing him as both a "fantastic magician and a fantastic showman".

Speaking to RTE Radio One's Ryan Tubridy Show, he said: "We knew it was coming, we got world.

"It hit home with a lot of magicians. A lot of us got started because of Paul Daniels and I am no exception to it.

"There is this conception online that I started when I was 14 with a magic book, well it was Paul Daniels' magic book, but I actually started when I was three or four with Paul Daniels' magic set.

"That really got my interests going.

"I have his books in the house still. The main reason, the sole reason, I am where I am is down to Paul Daniels."

He continued: "It is a very sad day for magicians worldwide.

"He was both a fantastic magician and a fantastic showman.

"He was particularly famous for a couple of routines. One was chop cup, listeners will know the routine - it was a ball and a cup and the ball would disappear and reappear under the cups multiple times, he had it down to a tee.

"He would even do it in slow motion and still fool the socks off people."

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