Comedienne Victoria Wood spent her last hours ‘talking and joking’ with her family before she passed away, a friend of the star has confirmed.
The comic died on Tuesday aged 62 after a short battle with cancer. Publicist Neil Reading said; ‘Victoria Wood has sadly passed away, after a short but brave battle with cancer.
‘The multi BAFTA award-winning writer, director, actor and comedian died peacefully at her North London home with family this morning. She was 62.’
Victoria’s Dinnerladies co-star Duncan Preston told The Daily Mail; ‘I don’t think many people did know… she’d had cancer for about six months.’
Writing in the Daily Mirror Duncan added: ‘I am shocked. All I know is it’s a great loss to comedy in this country. She was a very special writer and the world has lost a great, great comedian.’
Chris Foote Ward, Victoria’s brother, 75, said; ‘[Her death] has robbed us of one of the brightest talents of our generation.’
Victoria is survived by her two children, daughter Grace (born 1988) and son Henry (born 1992).
A friend of the family has also told The Mirror: ‘She [Victoria] was sat up in bed talking and joking at 11pm with her family around her but the next morning she died.’
‘It has shocked the family but she dealt with it in her own way. She always knew what she wanted and liked to be in control. She handled cancer the same way.’
Victoria started her career in 1974 by winning the talent show New Faces, and won many further awards with her work throughout the years. She racked up an impressive four BAFTA wins and 14 nominations, and received an OBE in 1997, after becoming a household name with her own comedy shows and tours up and down the country.
Dinnerladies remains her best known show, although her sketch show Victoria Wood As Seen on TV was also hugely popular.
Tributes have been pouring in from fans and celebrity friends alike, expressing their sadness at the loss. Author and The Times journalist Caitlin Moran described Victoria as ‘my hero’, adding, ‘Seeing Victoria Wood on TV – working class, bookish, silly, clever, doing stand-up, singing, acting – made me think “Girls can do this”‘.
Chef James Martin tweeted ‘So sad to hear that Victoria Wood has passed away. Losing so many legends. RIP’, while illusionist Derren Brown said, ‘No! Not Victoria Wood. What on earth is going on? A shy genius by all accounts. End of an era.’
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Victoria’s official Twitter account wrote to her 13,800 followers, ‘We are devastated to confirm that our very special Victoria has sadly lost her short battle with cancer. Thank you for your support & love.’