Victoria Wood has passed away aged 62 following a “short but brave” battle with cancer.
The much-loved TV comedian and writer's death was confirmed by her publicist in a statement which read: “Victoria Wood has sadly passed away, after a short but brave battle with cancer.
“The multi Bafta award-winning writer, director, actor and comedian died peacefully at her north London home with family this morning. She was 62.
“The family ask for privacy at this very sad time.”
Known for her quirky songs and TV work, Lancashire-born Wood has been a comedy stalwart for decades, her career taking off in the eighties with Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, starring Wood's long-time collaborator Julie Walters and spawning ever-quotable lines such as, “Is it on the trolley?”
One of her most-famed songs, The Ballad of Barry and Freda (Let's Do It), came from the show, as did the hugely popular sketch Acorn Antiques – a spoof of low-budget soaps such as Crossroads and later turned into a musical – while the nineties saw her winning awards for the sitcom she wrote and starred in, Dinnerladies.
In 2009, she said of the urge to pursue a career in comedy: “I think it’s perfectly valid to go out and get laughs. I think it’s a lovely thing to do actually, it’s a lovely life-affirming job: you go out and you make people laugh. I think that’s great. Who wouldn’t want to do that? As long as you do it well, I don’t think there’s any problem.”
Celebrities and fellow comedians have been quick to take to Twitter to pay tribute to the star.
Seeing Victoria Wood on TV - working class, bookish, silly, clever, doing stand-up, singing, acting - made me think "Girls can do this."— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) April 20, 2016
So incredibly sad to hear that Victoria Wood has died. A true comedy icon.— Sarah Millican (@SarahMillican75) April 20, 2016
Such sad news. RIP Victoria Wood. You always made us howl with laughter.— Julian Clary (@JulianClary) April 20, 2016
No! Not Victoria Wood. What on earth is going on? A shy genius by all accounts. End of an era.— Derren Brown (@DerrenBrown) April 20, 2016
RIP the brilliant Victoria Wood. So innovative, funny and down to earth.— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 20, 2016
This has not been a good year.
Oh God, Victoria Wood was just the loveliest. So funny and clever and kind and melancholy and all the good stuff. So sad.— Richard Osman (@richardosman) April 20, 2016
I feel privileged to have known and worked with the great Victoria Wood. Unique and truly brilliant.— Jack Dee (@TheRealJackDee) April 20, 2016
Images: Rex Features