Tuesday 27 September 2016

Showbiz legend Cilla Black dies aged 72

Published 02/08/2015 | 12:34

British Entertainer and Presenter Cilla Black In London for auditions for a new series of ITV's Blind Date, which will be screened later this year. (Photoshot/Getty Images)
British Entertainer and Presenter Cilla Black In London for auditions for a new series of ITV's Blind Date, which will be screened later this year. (Photoshot/Getty Images)
Cilla Black
Cilla Black
Singer Cilla Black takes part in Fashion For Relief at the Natural History Museum September 17, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Photo of Cilla BLACK; Posed studio portrait of Cilla Black (Photo by RB/Redferns)

Blind Date presenter Cilla Black has died at the age of 72.

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The legendary host died from natural causes at her home in Marbella, Spain.

A Spanish police spokesperson told The Telegraph: "I can confirm the death of British national Priscilla White, aged 72."

"We are still awaiting autopsy results but everything at this stage is pointing towards her death being the result of natural causes."

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Spain."

Cilla was on holiday with one of her son's at the time. She is survived by her three sons.

In recent years, she has been vocal about suffering from arthritis and hearing problems and flew to her Spanish villa with her one of her sons last week.

Read more: 5 reasons why we all loved Cilla Black

Cilla is regarded as one of the most cherished presenters in British broadcasting history and was a successful singer with number one Anyone Who Had A Heart in 1964, which was one of the biggest hits of the decade.

She hosted Blind Date from 1985 to 2005 and was made an OBE in 1997.

Photo of Cilla BLACK; Posed studio portrait of Cilla Black (Photo by RB/Redferns)
Photo of Cilla BLACK; Posed studio portrait of Cilla Black (Photo by RB/Redferns)
Cilla Black is delighted with the script for her TV biopic
Cilla Black

Her husband and manager Bobby died in 1999 from lung cancer, aged 57. After his death, it emerged that in their 30-year marriage, the couple had spent only four nights apart – one for the birth of each of their children, Robert, Ben, Jack and Ellen, a premature daughter who died at two days old.

After his death, Cilla said she sank into despair. “I was only 56, and without Bobby I felt so alone."

A hugely loved, television presenter, Cilla was known for her catchphrases on Blind Date, which include "Lorra lorra laughs", "Surprise surprise it’s Cilla here", and "What’s your name and where d’ya come from?".

Dame Joan Collins has led tributes to the singer and entertainer.

Collins expressed her sadness on Twitter: "I am so sad and shocked by news about my good friend Cilla. She was a resplendent and rare talent. RIP."

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Piers Morgan, who interviewed Black on his ITV show, Life Stories, wrote: "RIP Cilla Black. Very very sad news."

TV personality Carol Vorderman said she was "deeply shocked" to learn of Black's death.

"I hope you are now at peace lovely lady. Thank you for the lunches and the laughs x," she tweeted.

Singer Cilla Black takes part in Fashion For Relief at the Natural History Museum September 17, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Singer Cilla Black takes part in Fashion For Relief at the Natural History Museum September 17, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Surprise, Surprise presenter Holly Willoughby posted a photo of her and Black together on the show, writing: "This photo is even more special to me now...."

Before that she wrote a touching message saying: "So so sad to hear the news that we have lost one of my heroes, Cilla you were one incredible lady! Sending all my love to her family. X."

Loose Women's Carol McGiffin also paid tribute on social media, writing: "Feel privileged to have worked with her, she was hilarious and she really knew how to live. She will be missed."

Cilla Black arrives at the TV Quick and TV Choice Awards at the Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane on September 5, 2005 in London, England. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)
Cilla Black arrives at the TV Quick and TV Choice Awards at the Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane on September 5, 2005 in London, England. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)

And Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was "so sad" to hear of the performer's death.

"Cilla was one of my childhood idols," said Ms Sturgeon. "I used to love her Saturday night show.

"My earliest memory of having a tantrum was over Cilla. I wanted her album. My mum and dad said no, my grandad said yes. I was four."

TV star and singer Peter Andre said it was "terrible news", tweeting: "Very sad day today losing such an icon."

Pop Idol star Gareth Gates called her the "First Lady of Showbiz" in a touching message.

Fellow TV presenter and friend Paul O'Grady struggled to believe the news.

"Please tell me this isn't true? We've been friends for nearly 20 years. She's like my sister," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"Apart from her hearing she was all right. We had a week together in Barbados at the beginning of the year and I saw her on my birthday.

"I thought she was well. I can't believe it to tell you the truth."

Black's Surprise! Surprise! co-star Christopher Biggins also gave an emotional tribute to his friend, describing her as a "national treasure".

"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.

"I remember when I was asked if I would like to do a TV series starring alongside her called Surprise Surprise and I couldn't believe it, I was in shock. And I am in shock now that she has died.

"She will always be with me. She was a national treasure.

He added that he last spoke with Black around two weeks ago before her trip to Spain and the pair had arranged to meet up in September.

"I know one of her sons was with her in Spain and that's marvellous. She loved her boys, they were her life."

A life in pictures:

Tributes have been pouring in on social media, remembering the late star.

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