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Rachel Riley shares heartbreaking Countdown news with fans

The Countdown family is mourning the loss of Marcel Stellman

Rachel Riley has taken to Twitter to share some sad news regarding the Countdown family with her fans.

The 35-year-old, who fronts the Channel 4 daytime show, revealed that Marcel Stellman - the creator of Countdown - has passed away at the age of 96.

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"Sad news at the loss of the man who brought Countdown to the UK," she tweeted alongside Marcel's family announcement.

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"Marcel was the most kind-hearted man with stories to tell from decades in the music industry working with everyone there was to work with, and all that time with lovely Jeannie. May his memory be a blessing."

His nephew Mark had released this message, which read: "It is with our deepest sorrow we share with you news of the death of our beloved Uncle - Marcel Stellman, 96, who passed away late last night. Marcel is survived by his beloved wife Jean."

Marcel Stellman's family released this message

Marcel was also a record producer and wrote songs for stars including Cilla Black, The Shadows and Tony Bennett. In 1982, he brought the French TV series Des Chiffres et Des Lettres (Numbers and Letters) to the UK as Countdown.

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Former Countdown mathematician Carol Vorderman also paid tribute, writing: "I am so sorry to hear this news Mark... x Marcel and Jeanie and I had so many very happy decades together, forging a path for Countdown in the early days and working hard together to make it the juggernaut it then became... Happy days. A great life well lived."

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Rachel has been a part of the Countdown family since 2009

Dictionary Corner's Susie Dent added: "Very sad news for the Countdown family today: with the death of Marcel Stellman we have lost our patriarch and most passionate advocate. He brought to the UK a format that almost everyone has played and loved. And we loved him. #RIPMarcel."

Fans of the show were also saddened by the news. One remarked: "Thanks for info. What a gem he was. So many years of top notch entertainment. Keep it up please." Another said: "RIP Marcel! We owe a great deal to him, so thankful he brought Countdown to us."

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