Sir Ken Dodd passed away at the age of 90, two days after he married his long-term partner.
He died at his home in Liverpool with his wife at his side.
Dodd was known for his lengthy standup shows and his “tickling sticks”. “To my mind, he was one of the last music hall greats. There is no one else that comes close,” said his publicist, Robert Holmes.
“He passed away in the home that he was born in over 90 years ago. He’s never lived anywhere else. It’s absolutely amazing. With Ken gone, the lights have been turned out in the world of variety. He was a comedy legend and a genius.”
He performed his last show on 28 December, at the auditorium in the Liverpool Echo Arena. His 2018 dates were cancelled as he was in the hospital for six weeks due to a chest infection.
He had promised to carry on when he left hospital on 27 February. “I’m going to teach my legs how to work again – they’ve forgotten, you know – and once I’ve recovered myself I’ll get back to doing the job, which is the only job I’ve ever had,” he said at the time.
“While I was in here, I wrote some new jokes, so it should be all right.”
In the 1960s he held the longest joke-telling session ever: 1,500 jokes in three and a half hours and entered the Guinness Book of Records.
Liverpool’s mayor, Joe Anderson, said a book of condolence would be opened and flags would fly at half-mast.
Comedian Russ Abbot paid tribute to Sir Ken. “Sadly another legend has passed away. An icon, a one-off and a true professor of comedy,” he said.
“One of the greatest. How tickled I am to have known him.”
During the year he presented the Best Comedy award at the National Television Awards.
Some of the biggest names in comedy right now have paid their tributes to him online:
Ah, Ken Dodd has died. So happy I got to meet him once, and more importantly, saw him do one of his incredible 5 hour shows. He was an education to watch and, afterwards, at 1.30 am, he had beers with me in the dressing room and talked showbiz. A privilege, and a loss. RIP.
— Dara Ó Briain (@daraobriain) March 12, 2018
Comedy flowed through him like water. RIP Sir Ken Dodd. pic.twitter.com/v0FjVJVe1n
— David Walliams (@davidwalliams) March 12, 2018
RIP Sir Ken Dodd. One of the all time greats. The funeral will be held on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and most of Saturday.
— Gary Delaney (@GaryDelaney) March 12, 2018