by David Cillito, BBC News Aug. 2 2015
Singer and TV star Cilla Black, who enjoyed a 50-year showbusiness career, has died aged 72, her agent has said.
The 1960s singing star became a popular TV celebrity on such shows as Blind Date and Surprise Surprise.
Spanish police said a woman named Priscilla White – Black’s real name – had died in Estepona on the Costa del Sol, where the star had a home.
The death appeared to be due to natural causes, but this had not yet been confirmed by tests, police said.
“It is with deep sorrow that I confirm… the passing of singer and TV personality Cilla Black,” said her agent, Nick Fiveash.
“Details of her death will be announced following the coroner’s report. Her family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has paid tribute to the entertainer, remembering her as “a huge talent who made a significant contribution to public life”.
Black, pictured with son Robert last year, had a home on the Costa de Sol
Tributes have also been paid by her friends from the world of entertainment.
“I am so sad and shocked by news about my good friend Cilla,” tweeted Dame Joan Collins. “She was a resplendent and rare talent.”
“Such a shock to hear about Cilla’s passing,” said Sir Paul McCartney. “She was a lovely girl who infected everyone with her great spirit.
“From first meeting her as a cloak room girl at the Cavern in Liverpool, to seeing her many times since, she always had a fun-loving dignity that made her a great pleasure to be around.
Sir Bruce Forsyth said Black would be “sadly missed”, while presenter Christopher Biggins described her as a “national treasure”.
Broadcaster Noel Edmonds told BBC Radio 5 live she “captured the hearts of the British people” because “she was our Cilla – there were no airs and graces”.
Songwriter Burt Bacharach, who worked with Black, said: “It will always be a most special memory for me of recording her on Alfie in Abbey Road Studios in 1965.”
Des O’Connor called her “a very special lady”, while broadcaster Gloria Hunniford – who saw Black two weeks ago at a friend’s barbeque – called her “a true icon”.
Dale Winton said Black had been “a dear and close friend” and “the most loyal person”, as well as a “true ‘star’ and genuine national icon”.
Cilla Black with the OBE she received in 1997
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