This Article is From Aug 03, 2015

Singer Cilla Black Dies at 72, Tributes Pour in on Twitter

Singer Cilla Black Dies at 72, Tributes Pour in on Twitter

2005 file photo of Cilla Black at the 14th Annual Britannia Awards in Beverly Hills, California. ( Image courtesy: AFP )

London: Cilla Black, the 1960s pop star, championed by The Beatles who became one of Britain's best-loved television presenters, died at the age of 72, on August 2 in Spain.

The singer's publicist confirmed her death in a brief statement, and media reports, citing local police said that she passed away at her home in Estepona near Marbella in southern Spain.

"It is with deep sorrow that I confirm today the passing of singer and TV personality Cilla Black. 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," her publicist Nick Fiveash said in an e-mailed statement.

A spokesman for Spanish police said everything pointed to her having died of natural causes, the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror newspapers reported.

Big-hearted and full of laughs, hailing from Liverpool, she was a fixture on British television screens for more than 50 years, known just by her first name.

Singer Cliff Richard said he would "miss her dearly", adding: "I will always think of her as outrageous, funny, incredibly gifted but above all, full of heart. She was a very special person, and I have lost a very wonderful friend."

Actress Joan Collins was one of the first to pay tribute, who said on Twitter that she was "sad and shocked."

Hollywood actor Russell Crowe too wrote:

Born Priscilla White, She started out working in the cloakroom at the Cavern Club, where fellow Liverpudlians, The Beatles, were first spotted, before taking to the stage as a singer herself. The band championed Cilla and introduced her to their manager Brian Epstein, who then signed her.

Cilla released her first single in 1963 and the following year had two single hits - You're My World and Anyone Who Had a Heart - which topped the charts. She further went on to release 14 albums.

In 1968 she began hosting her own television talk show, beginning a broadcasting career that saw her present some of Britain's most popular programmes over half a century. These included Surprise Surprise, a show that involved surprising members of the public with long-lost loved ones or fulfilling long-held dreams. Another hit was Blind Date, a match-making show where she would interview each candidate with the catchphrase "What's your name and where do you come from?"

Cilla Black was made an OBE in 1997 and last year was given a special award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), which called her an "icon".

In its citation, BAFTA said she had hosted more than 500 television shows and made around 400 guest appearances on others, regularly drawing audiences of 18 million people.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said his thoughts were with her family and praised her "huge talent", saying she "made a significant contribution to public life in Britain".

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described her as "one of my childhood idols".

"My earliest memory of having a tantrum was over Cilla. I wanted her album. My mum and dad said no, my grandad said yes. I was 4," the Scottish nationalist leader said.

She was married to Bobby Willis, who became her manager and who died in 1999 of liver and lung cancer. They had three sons as well as a daughter who died in infancy.