Cilla Black, singer and TV personality, dies aged 72

Figures from world of entertainment and beyond pay tribute to singer and TV presenter who is thought to have died of natural causes

The television personality Cilla Black has died at the age of 72 in Spain.

Spanish police quoted by the Telegraph said on Sunday that British national Priscilla White – the Blind Date presenter’s real name – had died.

“We are still awaiting autopsy results but everything at this stage is pointing towards her death being the result of natural causes,” a police spokesperson said.

She had been staying at her holiday home near the Spanish resort of Marbella.

The Liverpool-born entertainer had been suffering from arthritis and deafness and told the Daily Mail last December she was “falling apart”.

Black said she no longer felt able to work despite getting a series of offers following the ITV drama Cilla, in which Sheridan Smith depicted the early stages of her career.

In another interview earlier last year, she told the Radio Times: “I’m going to grow old disgracefully.”

Figures from the world of entertainment and beyond paid tribute to Black on Sunday.

The business secretary, Sajid Javid, tweeted:

Very saddened to hear that Cilla Black has died. Brought great joy to my childhood. Thoughts with family & friends

— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) August 2, 2015

Chris Bryant, the shadow culture secretary, tweeted:

Truly sad to hear that Cilla Black has died. Whenever I met her she was very generous and entertaining with a wicked smile.

— Chris Bryant MP (@RhonddaBryant) August 2, 2015

Television presenter Philip Scofield tweeted:

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

Fellow ITV personality Holly Willoughby tweeted:

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

Holly Johnson, a fellow Liverpool-born performer of Frankie Goes to Hollywood fame, tweeted:

Sorry to hear about the passing of Cilla Black who entertained millions during her marvellous lifetime .

— Holly Johnson (@TheHollyJohnson) August 2, 2015

The singer began her career, which spanned five decades, in 1963 with two number one singles: Anyone Who Had a Heart and You’re My World.

She was managed by Brian Epstein, who also managed the Beatles, after being introduced by family friend Richard Starkey – better known as Ringo Starr.

Black met her husband, Bobby Willis, at the age of 17. He died of cancer in 1999.

Black’s presenting career began in 1984 with Surprise, Surprise, which ran until 2001. However, she is best known for Blind Date on ITV, which ran for 18 years from 1985.


Chris Johnston

The GuardianTramp

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