Father Ted actor Frank Kelly passes away aged 77

Flora Bell

The former Father Ted actor Frank Kelly has died at the age of 77. The Irish star came to fame after starring in the hit Channel 4 TV show. Frank played the character of Father Jack in the hit series, which became an international hit at home and abroad.

The comedian leaves behind his wife of 51 years Bairbre, seven children and 17 grandchildren.

Frank Kelly has passed away at the age of 77

Last November the TV and radio star revealed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The Irish funnyman passed away on the 18th anniversary of his Father Ted co-star Dermot Morgan’s death. Upon hearing the sad news former co-star Ardal O’Hanlon said: "Frank was an all-round talent, an institution in Irish entertainment, a very determined professional and he’ll be greatly missed by all who knew him."

Graham Linehan, Father Ted writer, wrote a tribute to the late star on Twitter saying: "Terribly sad news. Thanks for everything." Dermot Morgan’s son also spoke about the strange coincidence of Frank’s passing on his father's anniversary. "Isn’t life just weird? Frank Kelly going on Dad’s anniversary."

Frank played Father Jack in the TV show Father Ted

Father Ted, a programme which followed three Irish priests and their housekeeper who lived on an Irish island, became a cult classic and picked up several awards including a string of BAFTA trophies. In a recent interview with the Irish Times about the show, Frank said: "One of my stand-out memories was filming the consecration of the holy Stone of Clonrichert up on the Cliffs of Moher, which was shot in the middle of the blizzard, with very high winds.

"I was the one nearest the edge and I nearly went over. It’s the nearest I ever came to meeting my maker while working."

The actor, who also starred in Emmerdale and Mrs Brown’s Boys Movie, beat bowel cancer in 2011 and underwent surgical procedures to remove two small skin cancers in 2014.

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