North East comedian and entertainer Brendan Healy has died at the age of 59, after a long battle with cancer, it was revealed today.
A musician, actor, theatre writer, producer and comedian, he died late last night, surrounded by his family.
A statement released on his Facebook page this morning said: "Last night Brendan passed away peacefully at 11.50pm after a 5 year battle with cancer.
"His strength, dignity and humour throughout his illness is an inspiration to all his friends and family.
"A much loved husband, father, brother, son, uncle and friend to many, he will be sorely missed."
Born in Newcastle, he started out as a musician, playing keyboards in groups around the region, including legendary Tyneside folk-rock band Lindisfarne.
He moved into theatre and then television, where he presented 1970s children's television show Razzmatazz.
Returning to theatre, he spent many years either in rep, or touring alongside such stars as Penelope Keith, Toyah Willcox, Bill Maynard and Russ Abbot, in everything from Shakespeare to comedy.
He played Bernard in the West End production of Strippers, Tol Briston in the Emmy-award-winning Black Velvet Gown, and also appeared in The Girl and Dinner of Herbs - two films based on Catherine Cookson novels.
On TV, he was Eric in Spender, and also had parts in popular series such as Boon, Auf Weidersehen Pet, Crocodile Shoes, Coronation Street and Badger.
He has spent the last 15 years as a comedian, where he was in huge demand on the after-dinner circuit.
Healy released a solo DVD, Tall Stories, in 2005, recorded at The Customs House in South Shields, and performed at all the Sunday For Sammy concerts, established to support new North East talent.
He produced the annual pantomime at the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle, also writing and performing in the show, and has written a musical with Brian Johnson from rock band AC/DC.