Actor Gerard Kelly dies after collapse

Scottish actor Gerard Kelly died suddenly after collapsing at his home, it was announced today.

Kelly, 51, from Glasgow is understood to have taken ill at his home in London on Wednesday.

A spokesman for his family said today he died "peacefully" at West Middlesex University Hospital at 9.35pm last night. His close friends and family were with him when he died, the spokesman said.

Kelly is understood to have suffered a brain aneurism.

The spokesman said: "Gerard will be deeply missed by his friends and family and indeed his huge fan base across his beloved Scotland and further afield.

"He was a private and gentle man and his family and friends would appreciate privacy during this sad and difficult time."

He was due to star in The Rocky Horror Show at the King's Theatre in Glasgow next month before beginning his regular pantomime run.

Kelly was a well known face on television in Scotland with roles in City Lights, Rab C Nesbitt and Scotch and Wry.

But he also played a hardman who gave the Mitchell brothers a run for their money in EastEnders and made three appearances in Ricky Gervais's Extras.

A spokesman for the hospital said: "We can confirm that sadly Mr Kelly passed away last night at the hospital."

Comedian and actress Elaine C Smith said: "I have known Gerard for over 25 years and greatly admired him as an actor.

"He was a warm, kind, funny human being. We had lots of similar views on politics and the world.

"One of my fondest memories is of me dressed as a fairy and Gerard as Wishy Washy as we stood discussing the situation in Palestine.

"We worked together on City Lights and in numerous pantos, and I remember being so impressed when I first saw him act in the award-winning drama Donal and Sally.

"Gerard starred in this drama about two teenagers with special needs falling in love and I knew then he had amazing talent.

"He will be sadly missed by so many people and my heart goes out to all his friends and family."

Actor and writer Andy Gray, who played Chancer in City Lights alongside Kelly, said: "I was a friend and colleague of Gerard's for 30 years and we grew up in this business together.

"We were great friends and I will miss the fun we used to have. We shared great chats and many laughs over the years and I have lost someone who I greatly admired and respected.

"He will be very sadly missed."

Scottish Labour Party leader Iain Gray said: "I was shocked and saddened to hear about the death of Gerard Kelly, who endeared himself to the Scottish public through his television and theatre performances.

"Gerard Kelly also appeared in previous Labour Party election broadcasts and we are grateful for his generous contributions over the years.

"His contribution to Scotland's cultural life will be sadly missed and fondly remembered."

Gregor Fisher, who played Rab C Nesbitt, said: "He was a dear, sweet and funny man, and I shall miss him very much. Too soon as far as I'm concerned. Too, too soon."

BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie said: "Gerard will be greatly missed by everyone who had the pleasure of working with him.

"He appeared in many BBC Scotland radio and television productions over the years, and will be remembered not only for the range and quality of his performances but also for the warmth of his personality off air.

"Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time."