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Royal tribute for comedian Secombe

Secombe was best known as a member of the Goons
Secombe was best known as a member of the Goons  

LONDON, England -- Britain has been mourning the death of one of its best-loved comedians, Sir Harry Secombe.

Secombe, known for his famous radio antics on the BBC's "Goon Show" and fine tenor voice, died in hospital on Wednesday after suffering from prostate cancer. He was 79-years-old.

Leading the tributes, Britain's heir to the throne, Prince Charles said: "Sir Harry will be profoundly missed by all those people who appreciate wit and unmalicious humour."

The Prince, who has been a devoted fan to the comedian since childhood, said he had spoken recently to Sir Harry in the hospital and was "deeply saddened" to hear of his death.

"He was one of the great life-enhancers of our age and gave pleasure and constant happy laughter to so many of us throughout his life, most particularly when he was part of never-to-be-forgotten Goon Show," the prince said.

Former Prime Minister John Major called Sir Harry "one of the loveliest of men and a comic genius who gave pleasure to millions."

"The Goon Show," which BBC Radio first broadcast in 1949, lasted 11 years and holds a hallowed place in the history of British comedy. The show featured Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Michael Bentine and Secombe in skits so zany they approached the surreal.

In later years, Secombe hosted a religious music show called "Highway" in which his fans could often hear him sing.

He was knighted in 1981 and retired from show business in 1999.

Secombe and his wife of 53-years had four children.

"We are grieving for a wonderful man, and a much loved husband, father and grandfather," a family statement said.

A funeral is planned for next week and a memorial service will be held later in the year.

Reuters contributed to this report.



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