Tom Fletcher took to Instagram on Monday to announced the devastating news that one of his closest friends from childhood, Neil, has passed away. Sharing a photo of a tree, he wrote: "Today has been a difficult, sad day. My closest friend through my teenage years passed away this morning. We met when we were around 13 and were instantly like brothers."
Tom shared a photo of a tree in tribute to his friend
The dad-of-three continued: "We drifted apart over the years which was totally my fault and I was utterly rubbish at being a friend although deep down I think and hope we both knew that we would always be there for each other. We knew this day was coming just not that it would be this soon and I thought I would get to see him again so today has been tough. My heart is with his family tonight."
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Explaining the photo of the tree, he concluded: "He wasn’t really on social media so I’m not sure he would have wanted me to post a photo of him but since we spent most of our time in the park climbing trees, challenging each other to see who could climb to the top, I’m looking up at this one thinking that you climbed higher today, Neil. Rest now my friend."
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Friends and followers were quick to offer their condolences, with one person writing: "Never easy losing a friend but you're both better people for your friendship and you will always carry him with you." Another added: "We all too often let life get in the way, doesn't mean you don't love someone." Tom's celebrity pals also got in touch, with Ore Oduba writing: "Loads of love mate," while Izzy Judd added: "So sorry Tom."