Magician Paul Daniels has died after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, his publicist has said.
The 77-year-old, a familiar face for many years at Port Solent in Portsmouth, was at his Berkshire home with wife Debbie when he died in the early hours of today.
A statement from his publicist said: “One of our most beloved entertainers, Paul Daniels, has passed away at the age of 77.
“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.”
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.
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!”