His wife Barbara confirmed that Rik had just returned from his regular jog when he was taken seriously ill at their home.
It was thought his passing may be linked to a quad bike accident in 1998 where he was left in a coma for days but Barbara confirmed it was a heart attack.
Speaking of the condolences the family received from around the world, Barbara added: "We always knew that Rik was well loved but we are all overwhelmed by so many joining us in our grief."
She also thanked the media "for their discretion" and "all the wonderful coverage", before adding: "It would have made him very happy."
She continued: "I am sure that you all know Rik’s response would be something along the lines of 'Well thanks very much all of you.............now f*** off!!!"
As well as his wife Barbara, 56-year-old Rik also left behind three children, Rosie, 28, Sidney, 26, and Bonnie Mayall, 19.
Best known for his work on programmes such as Bottom and The Young Ones, fellow actor Adrian Edmondson, said of the tragedy: "There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish b******"