Bobby Ball: 'Devastated' Tommy Cannon says 'rock on, my good friend' after Cannon and Ball partner dies of Covid aged 76

TOMMY Cannon today said "rock on, my good friend" after his Cannon & Ball partner Bobby Ball died from coronavirus aged 76.

Bobby's manager this morning revealed the star passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital last night.

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Bobby, who starred in the fifth series of I'm a Celebrity, as well as Not Going Out and Last Of The Summer Wine, was rushed to hospital after experiencing breathing problems.

He later tested positive for Covid-19 and died at approximately 9.30pm last night.

His heartbroken wife Yvonne said: "I will always miss him, he was so joyful, full of fun and mischievous."

His lifelong friend and co-star Tommy Cannon said today: "Rock on, my good friend, I can't believe this, I'm devastated."

'ROCK ON'

He added: "I'm absolutely devastated, I've lost my partner, my best friend and the funniest man I know.

"Thank you for your messages, prayers and love".

Tributes have been flooding in for the star – who was famous for his bow tie and braces and catchphrase: "Rock on, Tommy!"

This Morning hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby both paid tribute to Bobby Ball on their show.

Schofield said: "He was such a lovely man. A genuinely lovely, sweet, kind man…"

Willoughby added: "Yes. Such a lovely man… and our thoughts are obviously with his friends and family at this time. Sending you all lots of love."

Blue singer Antony Costa, who took part in I'm A Celebrity alongside Ball in 2005, said he was "devastated by the news".

He said: "Just heard the news about my friend and fellow I'm a celebrity contestant Bobby ball …I'm devastated by the news.

"Thoughts go out to the Yvonne and the family R.I.P #bobbyball xx so so sad x".

I will always miss him, he was so joyful, full of fun and mischievous."

Comedian Jason Manford said he was "heartbroken" at the news of Ball's death.

He tweeted: "So heartbroken to read about the passing of comedy legend Bobby Ball. Such a hilarious man.

"The comedy community is a poorer place without him. #RockOn #RIPBobbyBall".

TV star Les Dennis described Ball as a "true entertainer with real funny bones".

In a tweet, he said: "Just heard the sad news that the wonderful Bobby Ball has died.

"He was a true entertainer with real funny bones. Thoughts with Tommy, Yvonne and his family at this sad time. RIP Bobby".

Bobby's manager Phil Dale announced the devastating news this morning.

He said: "It is with great personal sadness that on behalf of Yvonne Ball, and the family, and Tommy Cannon, I announce that Bobby Ball passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on the 28th October 2020 approximately 21:30.

"Bobby had been taken to the hospital for tests as he started with breathing problems.

At first it was thought to be a chest infection but a test proved positive for Covid-19."

"At first it was thought to be a chest infection but a test proved positive for Covid-19.

"His wife Yvonne said the hospital and staff could not have been more wonderful, as they were outstanding in their care of duty and they did everything possible for him and she cannot praise them enough.

"She said that the family and Tommy would like to express their sincere thanks to the many, many people who have been fans of Bobby and they know that they will all share in part the great loss and total sadness that Yvonne, the family and Tommy all feel.

"Yvonne added that their need for privacy at this time has to be a priority. No further announcements or statements will be made."

It comes as it emerged that the hospital where Bobby died has seen the highest number of beds taken up by coronavirus patients in the country.

Today, a top doctor said operations at the hospital could be axed unless coronavirus cases go down.

Dr Jim Gardner, medical director at the NHS trust which runs the hospital, said they are being overrun with patients and have been forced to cancel surgical procedures to cope.

He hosted the popular ITV show Cannon & Ball show for nine years between 1979 and 1988.

TESTED POSITIVE

Ball was born Robert Harper in Oldham on January 28 1944 and found fame on the show opposite his lifelong friend Tommy Cannon.

After the success of The Cannon And Ball Show he appeared in a string of TV series including as Lenny in Last Of The Summer Wine from 2005 to 2008.

He also played Topsy Turner in Heartbeat and appeared in Mount Pleasant, Benidorm and The Cockfields.

Ball played Lee Mack's troublesome father Frank in the BBC One sitcom Not Going Out since 2009 and in 2012 competed in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.

He is survived by two sons, Robert and Darren, with his first wife Joan Lynn, as well as his daughter Joanne with Yvonne Nugent.

The couple, who have been living in Lytham, Lancashire, and have been married for 46 years, have 10 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Ball was patron of the local NHS Blue Skies charity and the couple recently organised a variety event which raised £30,000 towards the development of the dementia garden at Clifton Hospital, Lytham, Lancashire.







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