Dinnerladies star Victoria Wood, who had been suffering from cancer, died yesterday at the age of 62. The actress, writer and comedian died at her home in London, surrounded by her family.
Her publicist, Neil Reading, said: “Victoria Wood has sadly passed away, after a short but brave battle with cancer.
He added: “The family ask for privacy at this very sad time.”
Scotland’s First Minister was one of the first public figures to send condolences as news of Ms Wood’s death spread across social media.
“What terribly sad news about Victoria Wood - such a funny, talented woman,” tweeted Nicola Sturgeon.
Wood’s fellow comedians were also quick to pay their respects on Twitter, with impressionist Rory Bremner posting: “No. NO. This is too much. Now lovely, warm, funny, brilliantly talented Victoria Wood has gone. Words, songs, plays, she wrote the lot. So sad.”
The Office star Ricky Gervais wrote: “RIP the brilliant Victoria Wood. So innovative, funny and down to earth. This has not been a good year.”
Jack Dee said: “I feel privileged to have known and worked with the great Victoria Wood. Unique and truly brilliant.”
Singer Lily Allen was one of many to express shock at Ms Wood’s death in a year that has seen an unprecedented number of celebrity deaths.
She said: “Bowie, Zaha Hadid, Victoria Wood, Merle Haggard, Ronnie Corbett, Alan Rickman, George Martin – enough is enough 2016.”
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said: “Victoria Wood? Oh, go to hell, 2016.”
The Bafta-winning comic, who hailed from Lancashire, began her career by winning the talent show New Faces in 1974. Her big break came after appearing on Esther Rantzen’s show That’s Life! in 1976.
She went on to become one of the country’s most popular stand-ups and in 1998 wrote and starred in the hit sitcom Dinnerladies. She scooped two Baftas in 2006 for her drama Housewife, 49.
Ms Wood’s live comedy was often interspersed with her own compositions and she frequently played the piano. She composed and performed the theme music for Dinnerladies.
Ms Rantzen has spoken of her continuing admiration for Ms Wood.
She said:“I think she is one of our greatest comic writers and performers, but she could also deal with serious issue as well, and she’s a huge loss.”
Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “Victoria Wood was a national treasure loved by millions. My thoughts are with her family.”
The comic was made a CBE in 2008. She leaves behind two children from her marriage to magician Geoffrey Durham, from whom she split in 2002.