Legendary Countdown host Des O’Connor dies ‘peacefully’ in his sleep

Legendary TV personality Des O'Connor has died aged 88, his agent has confirmed.

Following a fall at his Buckinghamshire home, O'Connor was admitted to hospital last week, and had been "recovering well" in the days before his death.

Sadly, the veteran entertainer died "peacefully" in his sleep on Saturday, November 14.

The former Countdown presenter was an icon of British television, entertaining the nation over the course of six decades on the screen.

In a statement, his agent said: “It is with great sorrow that I confirm that Des O’Connor passed away yesterday.

“He had been admitted to hospital just over a week ago, following a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire. He was recovering well and had been in great spirits, visited by his family – in accordance with hospital lockdown regulations – and looking forward to going home. Unfortunately yesterday evening his condition suddenly deteriorated and he drifted peacefully away in his sleep.

“Des, who was 88, was so well loved by absolutely everyone. He was a joy to work with – he was talented, fun, positive, enthusiastic, kind and a total professional. He loved life, and considered enthusiasm almost as important as oxygen. He adored his family – they were everything to him. He is survived by his wife Jodie, their son Adam and his four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina."

It continued: "Jodie’s world is shattered, she and Adam and Des’s daughters are hurting more than you could possibly imagine.

“Des was the ultimate entertainer. He loved being on stage – entertaining a live audience. He always said the sound of laughter was like the sound of heavenly music. He had a fabulous international TV career, presenting his own prime-time TV shows for over 45 years. On stage he starred at almost every leading venue throughout the world.”

Born in East London, Des' started off his career as a professional footballer at Northampton Town FC, before leaving the pitch behind for the variety theatre circuit.

His TV break came in the late 50s when he was chosen to host ITV's Spot The Tune.

1963 saw the launch of his namesake variety show, The Des O Connor Show, which was a staple on Saturday night television.

Alongside his presenting career, O'Connor was an acclaimed singer, with his song I Pretend reaching number one in the charts in the 60s.

Over the course of his career, he recorded a sensational 36 albums, earning an international fanbase.

The early noughties saw O'Connor host ITV daytime show Today With Des and Mel alongside Melanie Sykes, interviewing celebrity guests and giving light entertainment sketches a platform.

In 2007, the presenter replaced Des Lynam as the host of Countdown, joining Carol Vorderman on the show before quitting the following year.

The veteran entertainer is survived by wife Jodie Brooke Wilson and his five children.

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