Veteran comedian Sir Ken Dodd has passed away aged 90.
The much-loved entertainer was recently admitted to the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital with a severe chest infection.
His publicist confirmed:
To my mind, he was one of the last music hall greats.
He passed away in the home he was born in over 90 years ago. He’s never lived anywhere else. It’s absolutely amazing.
A few weeks back, the legend responded to fake death claims which had been circulating on social media, calling those who spread them ‘monsters’.
Angry and upset about the claims, Ken told The Liverpool Echo:
They are horrible monsters. I don’t think they’re human beings. I think they’re evil, but I think they will get theirs.
I can tell you now, there is a God and he will punish them.
The stand-up comic who became a household name in the 1960’s also praised the medical team who looked after him while he was in hospital, saying:
The first and most important thing I want to say is ‘Thank you’. I want to thank everyone for being so wonderfully kind and caring.
The NHS is marvellous. The nurses here are absolutely wonderful and the doctors are excellent. Everyone has been very, very kind to me.
But I also want to say there are lots of other people apart from me being cared for in this way. The medical attention is superb and the staff do their very best for everybody – it all makes me cry with gratitude.
Only last year Ken was knighted by Prince William for his decades-long services to entertainment and charity.
He was previously given an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1982 New Year Honours.
Born in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, Ken got his first big break at the age of 26 when he made his professional show-business debut at the Nottingham Empire Theatre in 1954.
He continued to perform regularly at the now-demolished theatre and soon started touring first gaining top billing at Blackpool in 1958.
Described as being ‘the last great music hall entertainer’, Ken was known for his fast delivery of one-liner jokes influenced by the likes of other Liverpudlian comedians including, Arthur Askey, Robb Wilton, Tommy Handley and Max Millar.
He was also renowned for giving lengthy performances, even being given a Guinness World Record in the 1960s for delivering the world’s longest ever joke-telling session, cracking an incredible 1,5000 of them in three and a half hours at a theatre in Liverpool.
That’s an incredible 7.14 jokes per minute so it’s no surprise the audiences watched the show in shifts.
Despite his age Ken continued to tour, even in 2017, which saw him turn 90 in November.
Rest in peace Ken. You’ll be missed.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.