Entertainer Paul Daniels dies of brain cancer at 77


Entertainer Paul Daniels has died with wife Debbie McGee by his side after losing his fight with cancer.

The 77-year-old was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in February and had chosen to spend his final days with his family at his Berkshire home with family.

McGee, his wife of 28 years, 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.

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.

A statement from Daniels' 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, McGee, 57, had thanked fans for their "wonderful messages" of support.

She 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."

Fellow magician Dynamo said he was "devastated" by the news.

The Bradford-raised entertainer said: "Paul was truly a giant of the entertainment world who really defined magic for over 20 years.

"As a working-class magician from the North, he was personally a huge inspiration for me and I know that he has inspired countless magicians around the world and will forever be known as one of the all-time greats."

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."

Born Newton Edwards Daniels in Middlesbrough in 1938, Daniels became interested in magic as a young child.

After coming second in talent show Opportunity Knocks, he was offered a regular slot on the ITV variety show The Wheeltappers And Shunters Social Club.

In 1979 The Paul Daniels Magic Show hit UK screens on the BBC and he became a household name.

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 son Gary.

A message on Daniels' official Twitter page said: "If everyone donated just £1 we could give over £56,000 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.

When his BBC series was axed in 1994, 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."

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.