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British TV entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth dies aged 89

'Nice to see you, to see you...nice'

Sir Bruce performing at Glastonbury Festival. Photo: Reuters

Sir Bruce performing at Glastonbury Festival. Photo: Reuters

British TV veteran Sir Bruce Forsyth has died at the age of 89, his manager has said.

Sir Bruce was one of the most talented, versatile and popular TV entertainers of his generation.

He was knighted in the Birthday Honours of 2011 after his supporters, including many MPs, had campaigned for several years for him to be awarded this honour.

With his witty asides, his cheeky smile and his displays of mock outrage, Sir Bruce topped the bill wherever he went for well over half a century.

He was still performing with as much zest as ever right into his 80s.

Indeed, as a sprightly, lithe 80-year-old, with the slogan "keep on dancing", he was hosting the huge BBC TV hit, Strictly Come Dancing

His principal claim to fame before that was probably his hosting of the long-running and highly-successful TV series The Generation Game. But he was no less popular in Play Your Cards Right and in Bruce's Price is Right.

The statement announcing his death read: "It is with great sadness that the Forsyth family announce that Sir Bruce passed away this afternoon, peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife Wilnelia and all his children.

"A couple of weeks ago, a friend visited him and asked him what he had been doing these last eighteen months.

Sir Bruce Forsyth and Barbara Windsor in 2013. Photo: PASir Bruce Forsyth and Barbara Windsor in 2013. Photo: PA

"With a twinkle in his eye, he responded "I've been very, very busy... being ill!" Unfortunately, not long after this, his health deteriorated and he contracted bronchial pneumonia.

"The family would like to express their thanks to the many people who have sent cards and letters to Bruce wishing him well over his long illness and know that they will share in part, the great, great loss they feel.

"There will be no further comment at the moment and it would be much appreciated if the privacy of Sir Bruce's family is respected at this most difficult time."

BBC Director-General, Tony Hall said: "Sir Bruce was one of the greatest entertainers our country has ever known. He has delighted millions of people and defined Saturday night television for decades, with shows like the Generation Game and, most recently, Strictly. His warmth and his wit were legendary.

"I've never seen anyone quite like him when it comes to performing in front of a crowd. He had a remarkable chemistry with his audience - that's what made him such an amazing professional and why he was so loved.

"He has been part of all of our lives, and we'll miss him dearly."

Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman has paid a touching tribute to her predecessor, Sir Bruce Forsyth, who has died at the age of 89.

As the news broke on Friday, she posted on Twitter: "He was the King of TV, the Prince of performers and the most generous of people... all toe-tapping twinkle, all kindness, all love...."

She followed it with: "The Bruce you saw really was the man he was. We'll miss him so much."

TV host Vernon Kay, who is married to Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly, wrote on Instagram: "Devastating news that the Entertainment Legend Sir Bruce Forsyth has passed away.

"It's been an honour to be able to get to know him as a friend. And we will cherish the times we spent together...

"He defined Saturday Night telly and re wrote the book on TV Hosting...Will miss his energy and fun both in the studio and on the golf course.

"Thoughts are with Winnie and his family."

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