Comic Rik Mayall suffered an “acute cardiac event” after returning from a morning run, his widow said yesterday.
Barbara Mayall said her family had received “thousands and thousands of messages of condolence” from around the world.
She said: “We always knew that Rik was well-loved but we are all overwhelmed by so many joining us in our grief.
“We now know that our darling Rik suffered an ‘acute cardiac event’ at our home around midday on 9 June. He had just returned from his usual run and many people had seen him that morning.”
Mrs Mayall thanked the press “for their discretion” and “all the wonderful coverage”, adding: “It would have made him very happy.” She continued: “I am sure that you all know Rik’s response would be something along the lines of … ‘well thanks very much all of you … now f*** off!’.”
Earlier, West London Coroner’s Court said a post-mortem examination into his death had been inconclusive and more tests were being carried out in an attempt to determine how the 56-year-old star died.
Mayall, who shot to fame playing poetry-writing anarchist Rick in The Young Ones, was found dead at his London home on Monday. His career, which also included roles such as Lord Flashheart in Blackadder and the conniving Conservative MP Alan B’Stard in the New Statesman, stretched back to the start of the alternative comedy scene.
His many fans have launched a campaign to send his failed football song, Noble England, into the charts in his memory. The track, which he recorded for the 2010 World Cup but failed to chart, jumped 27 places overnight and is now just outside the top ten at number 11.
Tributes have flooded in for Mayall since his death. His daughter Bonnie said on Facebook: “We will never forget him and neither will the world.”
His Comic Strip Presents colleague Peter Richardson, whose son was one of the last people to see the actor alive, said he was happy and healthy in the hours before his death.
He said: “He was happily chatting away and it was very quick, and we still don’t quite know what happened, but it was a seizure of some sort.” Mayall, who leaves his wife Barbara and three children, Rosie, Sidney and Bonnie, survived an almost-fatal quad bike accident in 1998 which left him in a coma for several days.
Richardson said: “He had 16 years after the quad bike and at the time I don’t think people thought he would survive that.”
Close friend and long-time collaborator Adrian Edmondson said he felt privileged to have shared good times with him at Manchester University, where the pair studied.
Ben Elton, who was also a university friend of Mayall, said: “I owe him so much. He ” changed my life utterly when he asked me to co-write The Young Ones.”