MONTY PYTHON star Terry Jones has died at the age of 77.
A founding member of the iconic British comedy troupe, Jones was the driving force behind Monty Python’s film work.
He co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Terry Gilliam before going on to helm the both Life of Brian and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.
On the screen his most iconic characters included a bumbling cardinal from the Spanish Inquisition, an overly apologetic French waiter and as a member of the group’s famed Hell’s Grannies.
Arguably his most famous utterance came in Life of Brian with the line: "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy," while playing mother to the titular not-quite-son-of-god.
Other directing credits include Erik The Viking, The Wind in the Willows and Personal Services.
Reflecting on his film work during a commentary recorded for the special edition DVD for the film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Jones stated that, to his knowledge, Ireland had at the time banned four movies - three of which he had directed.
A man of many talents, Jones was also a prolific children's author publishing 20 fiction novels, including Fairy Tales and The Saga of Erik the Viking.
He also turned his hand to screenplays, penning the original draft of the cult David Bowie hit Labyrinth.
A statement to the BBC from Jones' family said: "We are deeply saddened to have to announce the passing of beloved husband and father, Terry Jones.
"Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.
"Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in north London. We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades.
"His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programmes, poems and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath.
"We, his wife Anna, children Bill, Sally, Siri and extended family would like to thank Terry's wonderful medical professionals and carers for making the past few years not only bearable but often joyful.
"We hope that this disease will one day be eradicated entirely. We ask that our privacy be respected at this sensitive time and give thanks that we lived in the presence of an extraordinarily talented, playful and happy man living a truly authentic life, in his words 'Lovingly frosted with glucose.'"
Jones is survived by his first wife, Alison Telfer and their two, now-adult, children Sally and Bill as well as his second wife Anna Söderström and their daughter Siri.