Des O'Connor dead – Legendary TV star dies 'peacefully in his sleep' aged 88 after suffering a fall at his home

DES O’Connor has died aged 88 peacefully in his sleep after suffering a fall at his home.

Tributes have flooded in to remember the legendary TV star and former host of Countdown.

The veteran entertainer enjoyed six decades in the world of entertainment, and made a name for himself on both sides of the Atlantic.

Des was best known in the UK as a chat show host and as presenter of Channel 4's 'Countdown'.

Des O'Connor's agent said in a statement: "It is with great sorrow that I confirm that Des O'Connor passed away yesterday (Saturday 14 November).

"He had been admitted to hospital just over a week ago, following a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire. He was recovering well and had been in great spirits, visited by his family – in accordance with hospital lockdown regulations – and looking forward to going home.

"Unfortunately yesterday evening his condition suddenly deteriorated and he drifted peacefully away in his sleep.

"Des, who was 88, was so well loved by absolutely everyone. He was a joy to work with – he was talented, fun, positive, enthusiastic, kind and a total professional.

"He loved life, and considered enthusiasm almost as important as oxygen. He adored his family – they were everything to him."

He is survived by his wife Jodie, their son Adam and his four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina.

The agent added: "Jodie's world is shattered, she and Adam and Des's daughters are hurting more than you could possibly imagine.

"Des was the ultimate entertainer. He loved being on stage – entertaining a live audience. He always said the sound of laughter was like the sound of heavenly music.

"He had a fabulous international TV career, presenting his own prime-time TV shows for over 45 years. On stage he starred at almost every leading venue throughout the world."

The TV legend was born on January 12, 1932 in Stepney, East London but was evacuated to Northampton during the Second World War. 

Des enjoyed a brief stint as a professional footballer at Northampton Town FC before working a succession of odd jobs, including as a complaints clerk in a boot and shoe factory.

He kicked off his showbiz career appearing in variety theatres across the country, but got his big TV break in the late 1950s as a presenter for ITV’s ‘Spot The Tune’.  

In 1963, he was given his own variety show ‘The Des O Connor Show’ – and also released music later in the decade including number one hit ‘I Pretend’. 

He also recorded a whopping 36 albums as a singer – five of which reached the UK Top 40.

Des is survived by wife Jodie Brooke Wilson and five children. 

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