Britain’s Got Talent warm-up act Ian Royce has died aged 51 from pneumonia and multiple organ failure.
The compere – who checked into rehab in November 2019 to be treated for alcoholism – was well known behind the scenes on the ITV talent show for his work warming up the audience before the cameras rolled.
Royce’s daughter Roxanne announced on his official Twitter account: “It is with our greatest regret that we have to tell you all that Ian has passed away today from severe pneumonia and multiple organ failure. He was in no pain and was surrounded by friends and family. He put up a good fight but is in a better place now. Roxanne x.”
Tributes poured in from his showbiz pals including Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, who reportedly helped fund Royce’s treatment at The Priory clinic last year.
Ant and Dec tweeted: “We are sorry to hear of the passing of Ian ‘Roycey’ Royce. (@officialroycey) He was an integral part of the #BGT team for many years. Our thoughts are with his beloved Roxy and all his family. RIP Roycey. We’ll never forget you. X”
Former BGT judge and Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan wrote: “RIP Ian ‘Roycey’ Royce. Funniest warm-up man in showbiz and a legend in the TV industry. Worked with him on @BGT, @AGT & most of my Life Stories shows. Great guy, very loyal friend, & such a proud dad to his daughter Roxanne. Thanks for all the laughs mate.”
Amanda Holden tweeted: “So sad to hear the sad news of @officialroycey who was our warm up man and friend on @bgt .. just an absolute tragedy. Mine and my family’s thoughts go out to Roxy his lovely daughter.”
And Myleene Klass said: “I’m so sorry to hear this news Roxanne. He was extremely kind, loving and supportive to me and my girls. I will raise a glass tonight to this extraordinarily talented, kindhearted, loyal man.”
Simon Cowell's company Syco released a statement to MailOnline, saying: “Our thoughts and love are with Roycey’s family at this extremely difficult time.”
Royce revealed on social media in November last year that he had successfully completed a 28-day stay in The Priory and would be continuing his treatment abroad.
He tweeted: “'I just wanted to let you all know that my first 28 days of treatment, have come to an end and I will now be going abroad for the next 3 months to continue my treatment and really work on me and issues that have been buried deep for 40 years.
“As well as my alcohol addiction I have also surrendered to my sex and love addictions stemming from my past which have affected my relationships greatly.
“I am committed to working on all of the above to be a better person to me and to others.
“I have f**ked up big time in many areas of my life and I want to apologise to everyone who was caught up in my ‘madness’.
“I want to thank everyone who has stood by me, supported me – financially and emotionally. I know this is my last chance at life having been near death more than once.”
More than £12,000 was raised on a GoFundMe page set up last year to support Royce’s rehabilitation treatment, with sizeable donations accredited to Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly.
Royce’s friend set up the page claiming the comedian was in “desperate need” and was “being treated for a brain injury that he received whilst under the influence.”
Royce later thanked celebrity pals including Ant and Dec, Cowell, Robbie Williams and Olly Murs, tweeting: “I am so grateful to so many for saving my life..... Thank you so much everyone and my amazing girlfriend xx
“@SimonCowell @antanddec @robbiewilliams @ollyofficial thank you for a light.....”