Leon Bernicoff, who found fame alongside his wife June on ‘Gogglebox’, has died at the age 83.
The sad news was announced on the programme’s Twitter account, with Channel 4 later stating that Leon died in hospital after a short period of illness.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear friend and #Gogglebox legend Leon,” the tweet read. “We will all miss him so very dearly.
“Our thoughts are with June and family at this incredibly sad time.”
In a longer statement, Channel 4 and Studio Lambert, who make ‘Gogglebox’, said (via the BBC): “Leon and his wife June were the first members of the public to be cast for ‘Gogglebox’ back in early 2013, and they soon grew to become much-loved voices during the course of the show’s 10 series to date.
“Leon’s unique personality and sharp wit endeared him to fans of the show, as he contributed fully to Gogglebox’s reputation as a programme full of warm humour and unvarnished opinion.
“To those of us that knew him personally, Leon was a man of unwavering principles who exerted a distinct paternal presence both on and off screen. He will be dearly missed by the entire ‘Gogglebox’ family; cast and crew.”
The show’s creator, Tania Alexander, posted her condolences on Twitter, as many fans began sharing tributes.
“So deeply saddened at the passing of our dear, dear Leon,” she wrote. “He was and always will be the grandfather of #gogglebox – an absolute star who always made me laugh with his sharp wit and unshakable opinions.
“Much love and strength to June and the Bernicoff family.”