Victoria Wood spent her final hours telling jokes to her childrenat the end of her private six-month fight with cancer, it has emerged.
The talented comedienne, actress, singer and songwriter died yesterday morning at her home in Highgate, north London, aged 62.
But she was up in bed at 11pm on Tuesday night characteristically “joking with her family around her” until she went to sleep, The Sunreports.
Victoria was with Grace, 27, and Henry, 23, her two children from her marriage with TV magician and actor Geoffrey Durham, which ended in 2002.
Her 75-year-old brother, Chris Foote Wood, said her death “has robbed us of one of the brightest talents of our generation” and it has left her children “absolutely devastated”.
In a statement, he added: “Success did not come easily to Victoria, and it was only after years of struggle that she achieved her well-deserved national acclaim. [Her] two children will be absolutely devastated to lose their mother at such a relatively young age. She was determined from the start to give her two children as normal an upbringing as possible and to shield them from unwanted media attention.”
Celebrity tributes also poured in for the multi BAFTA award-winner. Prime Minister David Cameron said Wood was “a national treasure loved by millions,” and the other half of her double act, Julie Walters, said her loss is “incalculable”.
Famous since the 80s for her show Victoria Wood as Seen on TV, and her 1998 creation Dinnerladies, Wood’s final on-screen appearence was in December, when she played the voice of Eve the drycleaner in Sky’s adaptation of Fungus the Bogeyman.
She recorded her parts in the summer, but by winter was too ill to promote the programme or attend the November screening.
Her death follows several other high-profile figures including Ronnie Corbett, Terry Wogan, Alan Rickman and David Bowie.
A BBC Radio 4 study of BBC obituaries shows the broadcaster has shown twenty-four obituaries this year so far – double the number from last year.