Simon Cowell is mourning the death of his mother Julie Cowell, who has passed away at the age of 89. The X Factor judge and his family said they were "heartbroken" by their loss and would "miss her terribly".
A spokesperson confirmed that Julie has passed away on Sunday. "Today our beloved mum Julie passed away. Anyone who had met her would know what a truly special and kind lady she was. We are heartbroken and will miss her terribly, but she is now at peace.
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Simon Cowell is mourning the death of his beloved mother Julie Cowell
"We would like to thank the media for kindly respecting Julie's privacy throughout and we politely request continued privacy for the entire family at this particularly difficult time."
Julie, a former dancer, was a mother to four boys – Nicholas, Simon, Tony and Michael – and step-mother to John and June Cowell.
Simon's brother, journalist Tony, took to Twitter to remember his mother. "Very sad night tonight. We will all miss mum so very much," he wrote. "She was the heart and soul of our family x."
Simon's brother Tony Cowell paid tribute to their mum on Twitter
A friend of 55-year-old Simon's told the Sun that he is "absolutely devastated" by Julie's death. "His mum was the most beloved person in his life and they were incredibly close.
"But at least she got to see him settle down and start a family which was one of the great wishes of her life. Julie had been unwell for some time and she was in a home. But Simon and his brothers were in constant contact with her and the family remained very close.
"They had been paying regular visits to her bedside and it's been a Godsend that Simon hadn't had to do too much work in the US over the last year. He's completely heartbroken."
Following the sad news, X Factor auditions, which were set to begin in Manchester on Monday, will now no longer go ahead, a spokesperson for Syco Entertainment confirmed. "They were due to start tomorrow and carry on into Tuesday and Wednesday," he said. "Tomorrow's have been cancelled and we have not made any decisions beyond that."
The first auditions were expected to be attended by Simon and fellow judges Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Rita Ora, as well as new presenters Olly Murs and Caroline Flack.
Simon was famously close to Julie, who was a source of great strength for the star, particularly after the death of his father Eric – the namesake of Simon's son – who passed away in 1999 aged 81. The music mogul has previously opened up about the loss of his dad, who died at home from a heart attack. "I can't lie, it was the worst day of my life," he told Piers Morgan. "It was a horrible, horrible time."