UK Politics

Little and Large star Eddie Large dies ‘after contracting coronavirus in hospital’

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Comedian Eddie Large, best known for his comedy double act Little and Large, has died after contracting COVID-19 in hospital, his agent has confirmed.

His family said he caught the coronavirus while being treated for heart failure,and his son, Ryan McGinnis, posted on Facebook: "It is with great sadness that Mum and I need to announce that my dad passed away in the early hours of this morning.

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

Image: Large was best known for his comedy partnership with Syd Little. Pic: ITV/Shutterstock

Large, real name Edward McGinnis, was best known for his partnership with Syd Little, with the pair achieving huge success on TV throughout the 1970s and '80s after winning talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1971.

In a statement sent to Sky News, Little said: "I am devastated to have lost not just my comedy partner of 60 years, but my friend of 60 years."

Large's agent Peter Mansfield confirmed his death, aged 78, saying the comedian's family had not been able to sit in the room with him at Southmead Hospital, in Bristol.

"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," he said.

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"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."

Mr Mansfield said Large's family also "wanted to say how grateful they are for the extra 17 years that they have had with Eddie" following his heart transplant in 2003. "And a huge thank you to the donor and the donor's family."

Fans and comedians including Matt Lucas, Jason Manford, Michael Barrymore, Lenny Henry and Paul Chuckle are among those paying tribute on social media.

Eddie Large. He was such a funny and talented man. I was his support act for many years and he was nothing but kind caring and supportive to the upstart at the bottom of the Bill. Me. My love and condolences to Patsy, Samantha his daughter and Ryan his son. XXX

— Michael Barrymore (@MrBarrymore) April 2, 2020

RIP the very talented Eddie Large. Such a funny and lovely man. Love goes out to his family at this time ❤

— Paul Chuckle (@PaulChuckle2) April 2, 2020

Little Britain star Lucas wrote: "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."

Manford said: "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."

So sad to hear about the passing of Eddie Large. We had the pleasure of working with him and Sid a few years ago. He just loved making people laugh. He will be missed.
Our thoughts are with his family at this time. X pic.twitter.com/cDpsn6j61N

— antanddec (@antanddec) April 2, 2020

Large was a Manchester City fan, and the club also paid tribute, saying: "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."

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 pic.twitter.com/rkT7XNUmJO

— Frank Bruno MBE 🇬🇧 (@frankbrunoboxer) April 2, 2020

Eddie Large died. Midnight Matinee Great Yarmouth 1978. They finished part one. Id never heard laughter like it. Rude, raucous and rollicking.Dunno how they did it, but Eddies energy and electricity and impressions and props and improv were hugely impressive. R.I.P.

— Lenny Henry (@LennyHenry) April 2, 2020

Film director Edgar Wright shared an anecdote on Twitter, writing: "In the 80's my family were on the M5, overtaking a car with a massive Little & Large decal on the back.

"I was bemused a sticker even existed, then floored to see Eddie Large himself driving (with Syd in shotgun). I waved furiously. My 1st celebrity sighting & still the best. RIP."

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