Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford have joined thousands of others in sending their condolences after the death of Gogglebox favourite Leon Bernicoff.
Beloved retired teacher Leon, 83, passed away in hospital on Saturday following a short illness.
Paying tribute via social media, This Morning hosts Eamonn and Ruth shared their affection for Leon and sent their support to his wife June.
Eamonn tweeted: “Dear June, Ruth and I are so sad to hear about Leon. He even mentioned Ruth in one of his last programmes. We have always admired you both very much and offer you our heartfelt condolences.
“Your loss is all our loss.”
He then followed up by writing: “Both Ruth and I had the privilege of meeting both Leon and June. We have such affection for them. Our hearts go out to June for her devastating loss. We’ll miss you.”
Eamonn also shared the couple’s sadness at Leon’s passing via Instagram, posting a photo of him and Ruth seated in adjacent chairs just like Leon and June.
“Ruth and I are so sad to hear that Leon from Gogglebox has died. Our hearts go out to his bereft wife June. We know them both,” he said.
Eamonn referred to Leon and June as “couple goals” in his Instagram post, a reference to their strong and lengthy marriage.
They met in September 1955 at a teacher training college, when Leon sold June a ticket for a dance, and married five years later.
June recalled to The Sunday People last year: “He took me for a waltz and refreshments which was very posh. He walked me home and kissed me, and that was that. We were inseparable.”
In that interview, the couple said the longest they’ve ever spent apart is four days, when June went to help their eldest daughter following the birth of her baby.
Smitten Leon gushed: “I just love her. I don’t know, that’s all I can say. When I come home and she smiles at me at the front door, well, it melts me.
“It’s lovely. I don’t want anybody else, only June.”
Leon’s death was announced on Saturday evening by Channel 4 and Studio Lambert – the production company behind Gogglebox.
A statement read: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sad news that after a short illness Gogglebox’s Leon Bernicoff passed away in hospital earlier today.
“Leon and his wife June were the first members of the public to be cast for Gogglebox back in early 2013, and they soon grew to become much-loved voices during the course of the show’s 10 series to date.
“Leon’s unique personality and sharp wit endeared him to fans of the show, as he contributed fully to Gogglebox’s reputation as a programme full of warm humour and unvarnished opinion.
“To those of us that knew him personally, Leon was a man of unwavering principles who exerted a distinct paternal presence both on and off screen. He will be dearly missed by the entire Gogglebox family; cast and crew.”
Fellow Gogglebox stars have also been sharing their shock and sadness at the loss of Leon.
Scarlett Moffatt led the way by tweeting: “Words can’t explain what you meant to so many people. From your words of encouragement to me to the little DMs. Leon you were loved by so many. Sending my love to you and all of your family.”
Leon and June joined the Channel 4 hit when it launched in 2013, and quickly became national treasures.
He was renowned for his no-nonsense opinion on celebrities and, most entertainingly, politicians – traits respected by many fans who flooded Twitter with their condolences.
Read more: Gogglebox’s Leon has passed away, age 83
The Bernicoffs, who were based in Liverpool, were married for over 60 years.