Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Clive James dies at 80

He was a much-respected writer and presenter

clive james open mouth
Diane Shipley
Diane ShipleySenior Online Writer
Share this:

Broadcaster, author, poet, and critic Clive James has died at the age of 80, his agent confirmed on Wednesday. The Australian was born in Kogarah, New South Wales and settled in England in 1961. He confirmed he had lymphocytic leukaemia in 2011 and was also diagnosed with COPD and kidney failure the previous year. Although he described himself as "near to death" in 2015, a new medication protocol allowed him to extend his life.

clive james book© Photo: Getty Images

Clive was a respected writer and broadcaster 

A statement from United Agents read: "Clive died almost 10 years after his first terminal diagnosis and one month after he laid down his pen for the last time. He endured his ever-multiplying illnesses with patience and good humour, knowing until the last moment that he had experienced more than his fair share of this ‘great, good world’. He was grateful to the staff at Addenbrooke’s hospital for their care and kindness, which unexpectedly allowed him so much extra time. His family would like to thank the nurses of the Arthur Rank Hospice at Home team for their help in his last days, which allowed him to die peacefully and at home, surrounded by his family and his books."

READ: MasterChef star Gary Rhodes dies aged 59

clive james leather jacket© Photo: Getty Images

The Australian moved to London in 1961 before attending Cambridge University

The novelist and memoirist died in Cambridge, where he lived for many years, having studied English Literature at Cambridge University. He was friends with Princess Diana until her death and wrote a poem for The New Yorker called Requiem in which he described his grief at her passing. He shared two daughters with his ex-wife Prue Shaw, an academic and author. A private burial for Clive took place in the chapel at Pembroke College, Cambridge, on Wednesday afternoon and was attended by his family and close friends.

MORE: The Mortal Instruments star Godfrey Gao dies aged 35

Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan was among the stars who paid tribute on Twitter, writing that Clive was "a brilliantly funny man," while presenter Gaby Roslin said that he was "incredibly kind". Newsreader and former Strictly star John Simpson posted: "Deeply sorry to hear the news of Clive James’s death. A magnificent, witty, hugely talented man, whose company was always a pleasure. Thank God he fought off his disease so long," while singer Alison Moyet sweetly called him a "bright, beaming boy".

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.