Monday 11 December 2017

Brain tumour meant Daniels never knew that he was dying

Paul Daniels. Photo: PA
Paul Daniels. Photo: PA
Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee on their wedding day in 1988. Photo: PA
Paul Daniels and wife Debbie McGee

Lorna Cooper and Allison Bray

Magician and TV presenter Paul Daniels died with his family by his side just weeks after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.

But, tragically, the 77-year-old - who returned home to spend his final days with his family at their Berkshire home - never knew he was dying.

His wife of 28 years, Debbie McGee, said Daniels had no idea of the seriousness of his condition.

"Paul didn't know at all. The tumour was pressing on the part of the brain that processes information. So, although he was talking and communicating and knowing who I was and everything, he actually wasn't taking in new information, which is actually quite hard to tell," she said.

McGee said she and her husband had a "fairytale life" together.

She thanked well-wishers for their support since the magician fell at home and was rushed to hospital, suspected of having suffered a stroke. It was then that the tumour was discovered.

She said: "The way to describe Paul was that, yes, he did television shows and people knew who he was and he did shows for royalty and we flew around the world. You know, we had a fairytale life and we were so happy together.

"But Paul as a person was like in the village, in the queue for the post office, either doing tricks on them or making them all laugh.

"And he was as happy doing that as he was walking on stage at the Palladium or doing a TV show or doing a show for the Royal Family.

"He loved people. He was interested in everybody," she said.

Gary Daniels, one of the entertainer's three sons, 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 black hat with a tear it its eye. Outside the hat was an Ace of Hearts playing card, with the heart broken.

Mark Linsey, acting director of BBC Television where Mr Daniels was regarded as a legend, said: "Paul was an outstanding showman and one of the great entertainers of BBC television. He will be missed and our thoughts are with his family."

Irish magician Keith Barry said he owed his entire career to the highly respected English magician.

He said he and other illusionists around the world "have a lot to thank him for", for inspiring in them a love of magic and showmanship.

"The main reason, if not the sole reason, I am where I am is down to Paul Daniels, so it's a very sad day for magic and magicians worldwide," he told Ryan Tubridy on his RTÉ One radio show.

"It hit home for a lot of the magicians more than anything because a lot of us started from a Paul Daniels magic set and I'm no exception to that," Barry said.

"I actually started with a Paul Daniels magic set when I was three or four and that's really what got my interest going," he said.

Barry said he learned the sad news of Mr Daniels's death after returning home from a show in the US yesterday.

"He was a fantastic magician and a fantastic showman and I think what made him stand out was his imagination," he said.

"He was a pioneer, especially in the world of television, for all of us," he said. "We all have a lot to thank him for."

Irish Independent

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