Much-loved TV prankster Jeremy Beadle died of pneumonia on Wednesday with his wife Sue by his side. The host of popular programmes such as Beadle's About and You've Been Framed had battled health problems since being diagnosed with cancer in 2004.
During his last hours, Jeremy, who was 59, slipped into a coma at the North London hospital to which he was admitted last week.
On hearing of his passing showbiz pals paid tribute to the nation's favourite practical joker. "We've lost a real British character," said Noel Edmunds of the entertainer who regularly drew 15 million viewers in his Eighties heyday.
Game For A Laugh co-host Henry Kelly said: "Beadle was so inventive, so much fun, such a bloody nuisance, he'd drive you demented. He'll be up there now bantering with them, asking St Peter questions."
It was a characterisation the targets of his famous candid camera stunts would recognise easily. In his most imaginative trick, helped by the police and marines, Jeremy convinced a Dorset woman that aliens had landed in her back garden.
In addition to the fun and laughter he brought to others' lives Jeremy made a significant contribution to good causes. It is estimated the presenter - who received an MBE in 2001 - raised £100 million for a variety of charities, including organisations helping children with leukaemia.