Tributes have poured in for Cilla Black, as the nation comes to terms with the loss of the beloved British entertainer.
Her publicist, Nick Fiveash, confirmed her death with “deep sorrow” and said details would be announced following the coroner’s report. “Her family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time,” he said.
The former pop star and television presenter, who enjoyed a 50-year career in showbusiness, lived in Estepona on the Costa del Sol. She was 72. Black, who had arthritis and hearing problems, reportedly died overnight after flying to Spain with her son, Robert.
Sir Bruce Forsyth, 87, was one of hundreds of TV personalities to pay tribute. “She was just a kid… 72 is no age to leave us all,” said the veteran star.
Lord Grade, former executive chairman of ITV, said a once-nervous Black soon gained a natural confidence in front of the cameras and went on to become an “enduring family favourite… One of the all-time greats in showbiz.”
Black's close friend and fellow entertainer Paul O'Grady told the Liverpool Echo: “We’ve been friends for nearly 20 years. She’s like my sister.
“Apart from her hearing she was alright. I thought she was well. I kept telling her she’d outlive us all. She’s such a strong lady."
Black, a TV legend, is seen widely as a member of British entertainment royalty, and unsurprisingly stars of stage and screen have been responding with sadness to the news:
RIP Cilla Black— Jacqueline Jossa (@jacquelineMjos) August 2, 2015
RIP to singing sensation and TV Presenter Cilla Black. Gone too soon xxxx— Dawn French (@DawnFrenchUK) August 2, 2015
Very sad news about Cilla Black. She was an inspiration to me growing up. x— caroline flack (@carolineflack1) August 2, 2015
So sad to hear Cilla Black has died. She was certainly the First Lady of Showbiz. RIP x— Gareth Gates (@Gareth_Gates) August 2, 2015
Rip Cilla Black !! Shocking news !! Amazing women. Loved her shows growing up too !! Xx— Mark Wright (@MarkWright_) August 2, 2015
RIP Cilla Black, you brought so much joy and laughter into people's lives #cillablack— Gogglebox Scarlett (@ScarlettMoffatt) August 2, 2015
I've just heard the incredibly sad news that the legendary Cilla has died. So sad. A truly wonderful lady and an entertainment icon— Phillip Schofield (@Schofe) August 2, 2015
Cilla Black was the complete entertainer/host in an era when everyone watched TV. She was a trail blazer. RIP Cilla.— Gabby Logan (@GabbyLogan) August 2, 2015
So so sad to hear the news that we have lost one of my heroes, Cilla you were one incredible lady! Sending all my love to her family. X— Holly Willoughby (@hollywills) August 2, 2015
Earlier, a spokeswoman for the Spanish Police told The Telegraph in a statement: "I can confirm the death of British national Priscilla White, aged 72.
"We are still awaiting autopsy results but everything at this stage is pointing towards her death being the result of natural causes."
Cilla Black: Career in pictures
Cilla Black: Career in pictures
Black used to perform at Liverpool music venue The Cavern in the early 1960s. The Beatles also performed there (John Pratt/Keystone Features/Getty Image)
John Pratt/Keystone Features/Getty Image
Performing at Sunday Night at the London Palladium in 1965 (Rex Features)
Black starred alongside David Warner in 'Love is a Four Letter Word' in 1968 (Rex Features)
With Burt Bacharach on the Burt Bacharach Show in 1972 (Rex Features)
Black performing on the 'The Cilla Black Show' (Rex Features)
Black hosted Surprise Surprise from 1984 to 2001 (Rex Features)
She hosted dating show Blind Date from 1985 to 2003 (Rex Features)
She took to the stage with Lily Savage and Barbara Windsor at the Royal Variety Performance in 2001 (Rex Features)
She released her book, 'What's it all about?' in 2003 (ShowBizIreland.com/Getty Images)
She walked the runway at the Fashion for Relief show at London Fashion Week in 2008 (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
She attended the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards at Theatre Royal in May last year (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images