Eddie Large dead aged 78 – Little and Large comedian dies 'of coronavirus' after health troubles

COMEDIAN Eddie Large has died after contracting coronavirus in hospital, his family said today.

Large, famous for his double act with Syd Little, had been suffering with heart failure. He was 78.

After forming double act Little and Large in 1963, Syd and Eddie went on to win Opportunity Knocks and had a long-running comedy sketch show on BBC One in the 1970s and 80s.

Announcing his dad's death today, son Ryan wrote: "It is with great sadness that Mum and I need to announce that my Dad, Edward McGinnis, passed away in the early hours of this morning.

"He had been suffering with heart failure and, unfortunately while in hospital, contracted the coronavirus which his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight.

"Dad had fought bravely for so long. Due to this horrible disease we had been unable to visit him at the hospital but all of the family and close friends spoke to him every day.

"We will miss him terribly and we are so proud of everything he achieved in his career with Syd and know that he was much loved by the millions that watched them each week."

Large, who lived near Bristol, leaves behind wife Patsy and his 26-year-old son.

He also has two daughters and three grandchildren.

His agent Peter Mansfield confirmed his death, saying: "His family were very sad not to be able to be in the same room as him, touching him, in the last week because of coronavirus.

"They were only able to speak on the phone which was obviously very sad for them.

"But they wanted to say thank you to the NHS which was fantastic throughout."

He added: "He was at Southmead Hospital and the Papworth Hospital, which did his heart transplant 17 years ago, were in constant communication and a great help as well.

"The family wanted to say how grateful they are for the extra 17 years that they have had with Eddie. And a huge thank you to the donor and the donor's family."

The Glasgow-born comic, who grew up in Manchester, had suffered previous health troubles – particularly with his heart and kidneys.

Last August he revealed how he spent weeks in intensive care before receiving a heart transplant in 2003.

His ailing health is what sparked him to split from his Little and Large comedy act, saying it was the "hardest" thing he had to do.

He said: "That phone call to Syd was the most painful I've ever had to make.

"I was crying my eyes out because I knew I was putting him out of work. He had bills to pay. I felt horrible.

"We weren’t just a double act. We were mates, right from the start."

Paying tribute today, comedian Timmy Mallett said: "Dear Eddie Large – thank you for the laughter and joy. Deepest condolences to all your family and friends."

Actress Kate Robbins remembered Large as a "great chap".

She tweeted: "Sorry to hear the comedian Eddie Large has died. What a great chap he was. A real pro. Rest in peace Eddie".

Little Britain's Matt Lucas paid tribute on Twitter, writing: "Eddie Large (along with his supersonic friend Syd) was really lovely and kind and encouraging to me when I was a nipper on Shooting Stars. So sad to hear of his passing."

TV host Piers Morgan tweeted: "Comedian Eddie Large has died from coronavirus, his family confirm. He had underlying heart problems. What sad news – he & Syd Little were one of Britain's most beloved comedy duos. RIP."

Jason Manford tweeted: "So sorry to hear about Eddie Large passing away. Came to every comedy and musical show I did whenever I hit Bristol and was always around for a chat about comedy and Man City afterwards. Such a gentle, funny man. RIP Eddie."

Manchester City FC, who Large supported, tweeted: "Everyone at Manchester City is sad to hear that lifelong City fan and celebrity Eddie Large has passed away aged 78. Our thoughts are with Eddie's friends and family at this difficult time."

Paul Chuckle remembered Large as a "funny and lovely man" in a tweet, writing: "RIP the very talented Eddie Large. Such a funny and lovely man. Love goes out to his family at this time."

Frank Bruno tweeted: "RIP Eddie Large of Little & Large we spent loads of quality time together including pantomimes and TV appearances Funny funny man & great to work with."

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