British TV magician Paul Daniels dies of brain tumour

17th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Renowned British magician and television entertainer Paul Daniels, credited with popularising the art of illusion, died on Thursday aged 77 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, his family announced.

Daniels was a fixture on British television sets throughout the 1980s and 90s, fronting the hugely popular "Paul Daniels Magic Show" -- sold around the world -- as well as quiz shows and a children's programme.

Daniels revealed last month that he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour while seeking hospital treatment for a fall.

When asked about his own mortality, the magician said: "Death isn't scary -- it's just like going to sleep. It doesn't bother me because when your time's up, your time's up."

His son Gary announced the news on Twitter, writing: "It is with incredible sadness that I can confirm that Dad, Paul Daniels, passed away overnight."

Daniels' wife and long-time assistant Debbie McGee was by his side, according to spokesperson for the family, who thanked the public for their support.

"The TV star, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier this year, passed away peacefully at home with Debbie at his side in the early hours of this morning," the statement said.

Born in Middlesbrough, north east England in 1938, Daniels honed his act on the unforgiving Working Men's Club circuit before getting his break on television in 1970.

He eventually got his own show, and became one of Britain's most famous stars during the 1980s, lending his name to a popular series of children's magic sets.

The Magic Circle, a London-based international magic society, said Daniels had "been an inspiration to many magicians" and had "legendary status".

"At the height of his career The Paul Daniels Magic Show on BBC One pulled more than 20 million viewers -- that was more than one third of the British population regularly tuning in on a Saturday night to watch a magician make them laugh and witness feats of wonder," it said.

Musician Rick Wakeman said he would "miss Paul greatly" while contemporary star Dynamo called Daniels "a giant of the entertainment world who really defined magic for over 20 years."

© 2016 AFP

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