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Death of Cowell's mum halts X Factor auditions

X Factor auditions have been cancelled following the death of show supremo Simon Cowell's mother.

The family of the music mogul announced that Julie Cowell died yesterday aged 89.

Auditions for the ITV talent show were due to begin in Manchester, but will now no longer go ahead, a spokesman for Syco Entertainment confirmed.

He said: "They were due to start yesterday and carry on into today and Wednesday. Yesterday's were cancelled and we have not made any decisions beyond that."

The first try-outs for the new-look show were expected to be attended by Cowell and fellow judges Rita Ora and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, as well as new presenters Olly Murs and Caroline Flack.

Announcing Mrs Cowell's death last night, the family said that it was heartbroken and would "miss her terribly".

"Today our beloved mum Julie passed away. Anyone who had met her would know what a truly special and kind lady she was. We are heartbroken and will miss her terribly, but she is now at peace," a statement said.

Mrs Cowell was the mother of four boys - Nicholas, Simon, Tony and Michael, and stepmother to John and June.

A spokesman for the Cowell family added: "We would like to thank the media for kindly respecting Julie's privacy throughout and we politely request continued privacy for the entire family at this particularly difficult time."