Beloved fixture of British comedy Tim Brooke-Taylor has died aged 79 after contracting COVID-19.
Brooke-Taylor became a household name as one third of The Goodies, a trio of British comedians specialising in sketch and situation comedy. Their eponymous TV show, which gained a large following in Australasia, ran from 1970 until 1982. The trio briefly reconvened for several reunion shows in the mid-2000s.
"It is with great sadness that we announce Tim’s death early today from COVID-19," his agent said in a statement on Sunday (local time).
Fellow Goodie Graeme Garden said he was "terribly saddened" by the loss of Brooke-Taylor, who had been a close colleague and friend for more than 50 years.
"Tim and I met at Cambridge University in the early 1960s and have enjoyed working together almost constantly from that time onwards, on radio, stage and TV," he said in a statement.
"He was a funny, sociable, generous man who was a delight to work with. Audiences found him not only hilarious but also adorable. His loss at this dreadful time is particularly hard to bear, and my thoughts are with Christine, Ben, Edward and their families."
The third Goodie, Bill Oddie, tweeted: "Fifty years and he only got cross with me once... well maybe twice... no quite a lot actually! No one could wear silly costumes or do dangerous stunts like Tim. I know it hurt cos he used to cry a lot. Sorry Timbo. A true visual comic and a great friend x."
Presenter and comedian Stephen Fry also paid tribute to the 79-year-old, describing him as "gentle, kind, funny, wise, warm, but piercingly witty when he chose to be".
Author and Little Britain star David Walliams, 48, remembered queuing up to get The Goodies' autographs as a child.
"I got to meet Tim Brooke-Taylor more recently at a party. I was in total awe, but he was so kind and generous. It is so sad he is gone."
British comedian and actor John Cleese said he was taking time to absorb the "sad news".
"Just woke up in LA to hear about Tim B-T... How awful... I'll post later when I've had a chance to absorb this sad news. Tim was one of my very oldest friends, and one that I used to love performing with. He did 'frightened' better than anyone," he tweeted.
Brooke-Taylor began his five-decade career in comedy as an active member of the Footlights, an amateur theatre club at Cambridge University, alongside now veteran actor and comedian John Cleese.
During the 1960s Brooke-Taylor worked on television, co-creating the pioneering satirical sketch series At Last the 1948 Show. He went on to become an original panellist on Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't Got a Clue in 1972, a position he maintained until his death.
He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to light entertainment. He leaves behind two sons and his wife Christine following 52 years of marriage.