Cilla Black died of stroke after being knocked unconscious by fall
Cilla Black died of a stroke after falling at her Spanish villa, her sons have said, as they told how they were "devastated by the sad loss of our mother".
The singing and TV star was sunbathing at her villa on the Costa del Sol, when she lost her balance, fell and hit her head, which knocked her unconscious.
A post-mortem revealed that she subsequently died of a stroke, a statement from her publicist said yesterday, adding that she would not have suffered.
Her death, at age 72, prompted an outpouring of grief across the world.
Black's family said they have now been given permission to return her body home "as soon as possible" for her funeral. Details have not yet been released.
They said in a statement released through her publicist: "It has just been confirmed by the judge and coroner in Spain the autopsy was conclusive - Cilla Black died of natural causes.
"Cilla was sunbathing on her private terrace at her villa in Estepona, got up, lost her balance and fell hitting her head, which knocked her unconscious, and she subsequently died of a stroke. She would not have suffered."
Her three sons - Robert, Ben and Jack - said in a statement: "We are devastated by the sad loss of our mother, but have been deeply touched by all the kind messages of support from her friends, fans, the public and media.
"We would like to thank everyone, especially the people of Liverpool. The tributes and condolences have really helped us through these difficult times.
"The Spanish authorities have now told us we are able to bring Mum home, which we hope to do as quickly as possible.
"We would also like to thank all those involved for their assistance with this matter.
"We respectfully request for our continued privacy to grieve."
The Liverpool-born singer and TV presenter's engaging personality and phenomenal capacity for hard work propelled her to become one of Britain's most successful and well-paid performers.
She had flown to Spain last week with the eldest of her three sons and was staying at her whitewashed stone villa in Estepona, near Marbella, on the Costa del Sol.
She happily posed for a photo with a hen party at Malaga airport - believed to be the last picture taken of her - just hours before her death. (© Daily Telegraph London)