‘I’ve been very, very busy… being ill!’ Sir Bruce Forsyth’s family share his last message to friends as they pay tribute to the TV star who died aged 89
- Sir Bruce died at the age of 89, his family announced in a statement today
- His family revealed how the television legend maintained his wit to the very end
- Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman have led the heartfelt tributes to Sir Bruce
- Ms Daly said: 'He was a gentleman and a true legend and I will miss him deeply'
- Ms Winkleman described her dazzling co-host as the 'King of TV on Twitter
The family of Sir Bruce Forsyth revealed how he joked to a friend in the weeks before his death: 'I've been very, very busy... being ill!'
The television legend passed away aged 89 yesterday surrounded by loved ones.
In a touching tribute to Sir Bruce, his family explained how he maintained his iconic wit until the very end.
The statement read: 'It is with great sadness that the Forsyth family announce that Sir Bruce passed away this afternoon, peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife Wilnelia and all his children.
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Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly have given heartfelt tributes towards their colleague and friend Sir Bruce Forsyth, who has died
Ms Winkelman wrote: 'He was the King of TV, the Prince of performers and the most generous of people... all toe-tapping twinkle, all kindness, all love....'
Fellow legend Stephen Fry wrote a tribute to the icon, who was a national treasure and started working in show business when he was just 14
Paddy McGuinness also expressed sadness over his death, writing: 'I had the pleasure of interviewing the great man at the Palladium many years ago. Sir Bruce Forsyth, the king of light entertainment'
'A couple of weeks ago, a friend visited him and asked him what he had been doing these last eighteen months.
'With a twinkle in his eye, he responded "I've been very, very busy... being ill!" Unfortunately, not long after this, his health deteriorated and he contracted bronchial pneumonia.
'The family would like to express their thanks to the many people who have sent cards and letters to Bruce wishing him well over his long illness and know that they will share in part, the great, great loss they feel.'
Strictly Come Dancing presenters and colleagues Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman led heartfelt tributes that flooded in from across the world of showbusiness after the news was announced.
Ms Daly said: 'There are no words to describe how heartbroken I am to be told the saddest news, that my dear friend Sir Bruce Forsyth has passed away.
'From the moment we met, Bruce and I did nothing but laugh our way through a decade of working together on Strictly Come Dancing and I will never forget his generosity, his brilliant sense of humour and his drive to entertain the audiences he so loved.
'He has been there for me as a co-host, a mentor, but most importantly as a friend, and I'm extremely fortunate to have worked alongside the man who defined Saturday night entertainment for so many decades.
'He was a gentleman and a true legend and I will miss him deeply. My heart goes out to Winnie, his wife, and his beautiful family at this sad time.'
Tributes have poured in from celebrities who worked with the star during his decades-long career in showbusiness
TV host Vernon Kay, who is married to Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly, wrote on Instagram: 'Devastating news that the Entertainment Legend Sir Bruce Forsyth has passed away.
'It's been an honour to be able to get to know him as a friend. And we will cherish the times we spent together...
'He defined Saturday Night telly and re wrote the book on TV Hosting...Will miss his energy and fun both in the studio and on the golf course.
'Thoughts are with Winnie and his family.'
Ms Winkleman also paid a touching tribute to her predecessor.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also paid tribute to the entertainment legend
She posted on Twitter: 'He was the King of TV, the Prince of performers and the most generous of people... all toe-tapping twinkle, all kindness, all love....'
She followed it with: 'The Bruce you saw really was the man he was. We'll miss him so much.'
Sir Bruce is loved around the country for his 75-year TV career presenting shows including The Generation Game, Play Your Cards Right and Strictly Come Dancing.
Fellow legend Stephen Fry led the tributes to the icon, who was a national treasure and started working in show business when he was just 14.
Writing on Twitter and quoting his famous catchphrase, Fry said: 'There was only one Brucie - it was more than nice to see you, to see you more than nice.'
Zoe Ball wrote Sir Bruce was a ' truly natural and magical entertainer', adding 'You're my favourite'
Sir Bruce met wife Lady Wilnelia, pictured with him, at the 1980 Miss World competition, in which they were both judges. Wilnelia won the competition in 1975 for Puerto Rico
The Beano posted a cartoon image of Sir Bruce from when he featured in one of its editions in 2008
Fellow presenter, Paddy McGuinness also expressed sadness over his death, writing: 'I had the pleasure of interviewing the great man at the Palladium many years ago. Sir Bruce Forsyth, the king of light entertainment.'
MailOnline columnist Piers Morgan also paid his respects on social media, tweeting: 'One of Britain's greatest ever entertainers and a lovely man. Very sad news.'
And Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker used one of the entertainer's catchphrases in his tribute.
He wrote: 'Saddened to hear that Sir Bruce Forsyth has passed away. One of television's great entertainers. Didn't he do well?'
The Beano comic posted a cartoon image of Bruce Forsyth presenting Strictly, which featured in one of its edition in 2008, alongside the caption: 'Strictly... an entertainment legend.'
MailOnline columnist Piers Morgan, David Walliams, Gabby Logan and Chris Evans also paid tribute to Sir Bruce
BBC Director-General, Tony Hall said: 'Sir Bruce was one of the greatest entertainers our country has ever known.
'He has delighted millions of people and defined Saturday night television for decades, with shows like the Generation Game and, most recently, Strictly. His warmth and his wit were legendary.
'I've never seen anyone quite like him when it comes to performing in front of a crowd. He had a remarkable chemistry with his audience - that's what made him such an amazing professional and why he was so loved.
'He has been part of all of our lives, and we'll miss him dearly.'
Members of the public also took to social media in their thousands to express their sadness at the news and share their fond childhood memories of 'one of Britain's greatest ever entertainers'.
One user, Hannah, wrote: 'It's so sad to hear about Bruce Forsyth, he's probably having a good ole laugh up in heaven.'
Members of the public also took to social media to pay tribute to 'one of Britain's greatest ever entertainers'
Angela Bates said: 'Growing up. Saturday nights belonged to Bruce Forsyth in our house.'
And Danny Cleaton wrote: 'RIP Sir Bruce Forsyth. One of Britain's greatest ever entertainers. Loved watching the Generation Game with my nan and grandad as a boy.'
And one fan, Jonathan Green, simply wrote: 'Bruce Forsyth. Born 1928, before sliced bread was invented. Still making him the best thing since sliced bread...'
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