BOBBY Ball, one half of the comedy double act Cannon & Ball, has died aged 76 after testing positive for coronavirus.
His manager today revealed the star passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital last night.
Bobby, who starred in the fifth series of I'm a Celebrity, as well as Not Going Out and Last Of The Summer Wine, was rushed to hospital after experiencing breathing problems.
He later tested positive for Covid-19 and died at approximately 9.30pm last night.
His heartbroken wife Yvonne said: "I will always miss him, he was so joyful, full of fun and mischievous."
His lifelong friend and co-star Tommy Cannon said today: "Rock on, my good friend, I can't believe this, I'm devastated."
Bobby's manager Phil Dale announced the devastating news this morning.
Tributes have been flooding in for the star – who was famous for his bow tie and braces and catchphrase: "Rock on, Tommy!"
Blue singer Antony Costa, who took part in I'm A Celebrity alongside Ball in 2005, said he was "devastated by the news".
He said: "Just heard the news about my friend and fellow I'm a celebrity contestant Bobby ball …I'm devastated by the news.
"Thoughts go out to the Yvonne and the family R.I.P #bobbyball xx so so sad x".
Comedian Jason Manford said he was "heartbroken" at the news of Ball's death.
I will always miss him, he was so joyful, full of fun and mischievous."
He tweeted: "So heartbroken to read about the passing of comedy legend Bobby Ball. Such a hilarious man. The comedy community is a poorer place without him. #RockOn #RIPBobbyBall".
TV star Les Dennis described Ball as a "true entertainer with real funny bones".
In a tweet, he said: "Just heard the sad news that the wonderful Bobby Ball has died. He was a true entertainer with real funny bones. Thoughts with Tommy,Yvonne and his family at this sad time. RIP Bobby".
Ball's manager revealed the news by saying: "It is with great personal sadness that on behalf of Yvonne Ball, and the family, and Tommy Cannon, I announce that Bobby Ball passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on the 28th October 2020 approximately 21:30.
"Bobby had been taken to the hospital for tests as he started with breathing problems.
"At first it was thought to be a chest infection but a test proved positive for Covid-19.
"His wife Yvonne said the hospital and staff could not have been more wonderful, as they were outstanding in their care of duty and they did everything possible for him and she cannot praise them enough.
"She said that the family and Tommy would like to express their sincere thanks to the many, many people who have been fans of Bobby and they know that they will all share in part the great loss and total sadness that Yvonne, the family and Tommy all feel.
"Yvonne added that their need for privacy at this time has to be a priority. No further announcements or statements will be made."
He hosted the popular ITV show Cannon & Ball show for nine years between 1979 and 1988.
Ball was born Robert Harper on January 28 1944 and found fame on the show opposite his lifelong friend Tommy Cannon.
He also appeared in TV series including Heartbeat, Mount Pleasant, Benidorm and The Cockfields.
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