Bobby Ball death: Cannon & Ball comedian dies from coronavirus aged 76

Comedian and actor had been admitted to hospital with breathing problems

Bobby Ball interviewed for Granada Reports

Comedian Bobby Ball has died aged 76 after testing positive for coronavirus.

The comic, who was best known as one-half of the double act Cannon & Ball, had been in hospital with breathing problems.

He was initially thought to have a chest infection, but later tested positive for Covid-19.

His death was confirmed to PA this morning (29 October) by his manager, who said: “It is with great personal sadness that on behalf of Yvonne Ball, and the family, and Tommy Cannon, I announce that Bobby Ball passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on 28 October 2020 [at] approximately 21:30.”

They continued: “His wife Yvonne said the hospital and staff could not have been more wonderful, as they were outstanding in their care of duty and they did everything possible for him and she cannot praise them enough.”

Ball (left) with Cannon in 1982 film ‘The Boys in Blue’

Born Robert Harper in Oldham in 1944, Ball had a long career in the entertainment industry, both as one half of Cannon & Ball and as a solo performer.

Along with Tommy Cannon, the duo hosted The Cannon and Ball Show on ITV for nine years from 1979 to 1988. They also starred in the 1982 film The Boys in Blue and made guest appearances on The Kenny Everett Show and Shooting Stars.

Referencing Ball’s “Rock on, Tommy!” catchphrase, his lifelong friend and co-star Cannon said today: “Rock on, my good friend, I can’t believe this. I’m absolutely devastated, I’ve lost my partner, my best friend and the funniest man I know.”

In addition to his comedy career, Ball worked as an actor, with regular roles on TV programmes including Last of the Summer Wine, Mount Pleasant and The Cockfields.

In 2005, he appeared on the fifth season of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, during which he was the sixth campmate to leave the jungle.

In recent years, he’s been best known as Frank on BBC sitcom Not Going Out, a role he first played in 2009. His most recent appearance was in the show’s 10th season, which aired in 2019.

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Lee Mack, the show’s star, said: “I’m utterly shocked and devastated to lose my mate Bobby like this. I filmed with him just a few weeks ago and he was his usual funny and cheeky self.

“My thoughts are with Yvonne and his family, and of course Tommy. To get to work with one of my childhood comedy heroes was great. But to call him a friend was even better. Rest In Peace Bobby x.”

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