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Tributes to 'monumental' Eric Sykes
Tributes have been paid to "a monumental man of comedy" Eric Sykes following his death at the age of 89.
The star, best remembered for acting in and writing long-running TV sitcom Sykes And A... with Hattie Jacques, died after a short illness.
His manager Norma Farnes said that the star of TV, stage and films "died peacefully" and that "his family were with him".
Sykes wrote scripts for comedians such as Peter Sellers, Frankie Howerd and Tony Hancock and penned material for The Goon Show. The star, who was also a novelist, director and producer, began his career writing for hit BBC radio shows before moving into TV.
Comedian Ken Dodd said that Sykes was "a joy to be with, a wonderful man to know... a genius at creating comedy.
"He found laughter in anything. More than anything else, he loved everybody and everybody loved him," he said.
Sir Bruce Forsyth called the "gentle" Oldham-born star "one of the greats of comedy in this country".
Actor Bernard Cribbins, who starred in two of Sykes' comedy shorts, The Plank (1979) and It's Your Move (1969), also paid tribute. "He will be very sadly missed," he said. "I just wish him a lot of rest up there with all the other comics, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. They will all be up there, having a laugh together."
Comedy writer Eddie Braben said Sykes "was a monumental man of comedy, an inspirational figure for those who aimed for comedy success and a fine hero of comedy."
Sykes, whose recent TV credits include Last Of The Summer Wine and Agatha Christie's Poirot, had one son and three daughters with wife Eith Eleanore Milbrandt. He was awarded a CBE in 2004.