Cilla Black dead: Career in pictures from The Cavern club in Liverpool to Blind Date

Black's career spanned 50 years, kicking off with 1963 single 'Love of the Loved'

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The Independent Online

Cilla Black has died at her Spanish home in Estepona at the age of 72.

Black's representative Nick Fiveash said in a statement: "It is with deep sorrow that I confirm today the passing of singer and TV personality Cilla Black.

"Details of her death will be announced following the coroners report. Her family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time."

Spanish police sources told The Telegraph they believe Black died at her Spanish home overnight of natural causes. She is thought to have travelled to Spain with one of her sons a few days previously.

Born Priscilla Maria Veronica White in 1943, Black shot to fame in 1964 with number one hits “Anyone Who Had A Heart” and “You’re My World”.

She had become well known for her performances in her home city of Liverpool at The Cavern, where she had started working as a hat check girl and later performed alongside the likes of The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

John Lennon is said to have introduced Black to The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, who she sang to with the Fab Four as her back-up, though her nerves are said to have got the better of her and the performance failed to impress.

Epstein still later began managing Black, and she released her debut single “Love of the Loved” in 1963.

After Epstein’s death in 1967 Black’s future husband Bobby Willis became her manager.

The pair wed two years later and were married for 30 years until Willis’ death.

Black made her television debut in 1968 when she hosted BBC One show Cilla. She went on to present Blind Date, which ran from 1985 to 2003, and Surprise Surprise which lasted almost as long, from 1984 to 2001. She also had a stint presenting game show The Moment of Truth.

Black’s 50 year career was honoured in 2014 by a number of awards and variety shows, including a special Bafta award and a Royal Television Society award.

Last year Sheridan Smith starred in three-part biopic about Black's early career, which led her single "Anyone Who Had A Heart" to re-enter the UK Top 40 chart, 50 years after its original release.

Black received an OBE from the Queen in 1997.

She is survived by her three sons Robert, Ben and Jack.

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