Paul Daniels dies aged 77

Magician Paul Daniels has died after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, his publicist has said.

The 77-year-old, who was born in Middlesbrough, was at his home with wife Debbie when he died in the early hours of Thursday.

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Paul Daniels: His Story

Credit: PA (library image)

An exuberant performer with a magical touch - Paul Daniels won the hearts of the nation with his TV trickery, wit and charm.

His catch phrase was "you'll like this, not a lot, but you'll like it"

He was born Newton Edward Daniels in Middlesbrough where he honed his skills in slight of hand at local working mens clubs - before his astonishing rise to fame to become one of the most popular magicians of the 20th century.

It wasn't until 1969 that he became a full-time magician when he performed a summer season at Newquay.

At the height of his fame in the 1980s, the Paul Daniels Magic Show regularly attracted 15 million viewers, sold to 43 countries and inspired a generation of young magicians.

He was diagnosed with an incurable brain cancer last month. His wife Debbie McGee thanked fans for their "wonderful messages" of support.

Hi son Gary Daniels, also a magician, confirmed today that his father had passed away in the early hours at his Berkshire home.

Paul and Debbie

Paul and Debbie on their wedding day Credit: PA

It was at auditions for The Paul Daniels Magic Show that he met his second wife, Debbie McGee.

He was, at this point, separated from his first wife Jacqueline, with whom he had three sons, Paul, Martin and Gary.

Martin Daniels regularly appeared on television with his father as a magician.

When McGee met Daniels, she was a soloist in the Iranian National Ballet in Tehran who had been forced to flee the country when the 1979 Iranian Revolution broke out.

After auditioning, the successful ballerina was initially disappointed to be selected for The Paul Daniels Show in Great Yarmouth.

"I had no idea who he was or what he did. People told me he was a magician, and my heart sank," she told The Guardian in 2014.

"Then I saw him on TV at a friend's house, on the quiz show Blankety Blank. He was very funny - he took his jacket off and had a Superman T-shirt on and red knickers over his trousers. I was in hysterics.

Daniels and McGee married in 1988 and she continued to be his assistant on the show until it was axed in 1994.

Did you know?

Television comedy magician Paul Daniels getting stuck into a rib of beef after the British meat industry donated half a ton of meat for distribution to about 50 children's homes. Credit: PA archive

Paul Daniels was famous for his close-up magic and entertainment shows, but was less known for his special effects work.

He designed the special effects for the stage productions of Cats and Phantom Of The Opera, and was commissioned by the English National ballet to create magical effects for The Nutcracker.

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