TRIBUTES have been paid to Freddie Starr after the British comedian was found dead at his home in Spain at the age of 76.
The Merseyside-born entertainer became a household name in the early 1970s after appearing on the talent show Opportunity Knocks and the Royal Variety Performance, before starring in several TV programmes in the 1990s and notoriously featuring in The Sun's "Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster" headline.
Known for his zany and often outrages routines in comedy, impressions, singing and acting, the comic later appeared on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2011 before dropping out of the ITV reality show due to ill health.
A post on the Facebook page 'Freddie Starr Official' said: "This is Freddie's manager. Just to confirm Freddie has passed away. RIP to our greatest comedian of all time."
Fellow comic Jim Davidson was among those paying tribute late on Thursday night, tweeting: "Just heard the news. Freddie Starr was the greatest."
Just heard the news. Freddie Starr was the greatest.
— Jim Davidson (@JimDOfficial) 9 May 2019
Actor Bobby Davro wrote: "I've just heard that Freddie Starr has died. He was the funniest man I have ever seen. I'm so sad we have lost one of our greatest comedy talents. RIP Freddie".
I've just heard that Freddie Starr has died.
He was the funniest man I have ever seen.
I'm so sad we have lost one of our greatest comedy talents. RIP Freddie. 💔
— Bobby Davro (@BobbyDavro1) 9 May 2019
Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden said she hopes Starr is "remembered with a smile".
She added: "Sad to hear of Freddie Starr passing today. His style may have fallen out of comedy fashion & favour – but it’s important to recognise his once huge popularity & fame. The outrageous & edgy parody’s were infamous".
Sad to hear of Freddie Starr passing today.His style may have fallen out of comedy fashion & favour-but it’s important to recognise his once huge popularity& fame.The outrageous & edgy parody’s were infamous.I hope his legacy is not smalled down and he’s remembered with a smile pic.twitter.com/M77Pu4xp1f
— Amanda Holden (@AmandaHolden) 9 May 2019
Starr was the lead singer of Merseybeat pop group the Midniters in the early 1960s before his rise to prominence on British television.
In 2012, he was arrested by police investigating allegations of historical sexual abuse but he was never charged.
He later lost a defamation claim against his accuser at the UK High Court in 2015.
The entertainer moved to the Costa Del Sol in Spain following the ruling, which reportedly left him facing legal costs of around £1 million.
According to The Sun, he was found dead on the floor of his apartment in the town of Mijas – but Spanish police have said his death is not suspicious and he appears to have passed from natural causes.