Entertainer Paul Daniels has died, aged 77, with wife Debbie McGee by his side. He had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in February, and had spend his final days with his family, at his Berkshire home.
McGee, his wife of 28 years, thanked wellwishers 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.
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. When his BBC series was axed in 1994, Daniels presented game-shows and also participated in various TV shows.