John Challis at The National Television Awards 2019

John Challis dead: Tributes pour in for Only Fools and Horses legend who has died aged 79

He had been fighting cancer for some years

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Only Fools and Horses star John Challis has died at the age of 79.

John became a beloved household name in the 80s for his portrayal of Boycie in the iconic sitcom alongside Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst.

In a statement to the media this lunchtime, his family wrote: “It is with heavy hearts that we bring you such sad news.

John Challis Attends The Cats Protection Awards 2017 In London
The family of John Challis have shared the sad news of his death (Credit: Splash)

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“Our dear friend and yours, John Challis, has died peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer.

“He will always be loved for being ‘Boycie’ and leaves a great legacy of work that will continue to bring pleasure and smiles for many years to come.

“Please respect the privacy of John’s family and friends at this difficult time, and be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John’s life – when everyone will be welcome to come along.”

Sue Holderness in Only Fools And Horses
Marlene  (Sue Holderness) with Del Boy (David Jason) in Only Fools And Horses (Credit: BritBox)

Only Fools and Horses stars lead tributes

Del Boy star Sir David Jason, 81, has shared his condolences: “He was a wonderful actor, a gentleman in the true sense of the word and I know he will be missed by so many.

“We had known each other for well over 40 years when he appeared in the second episode of Only Fools and Horses as Boycie.”

Sue Holderness, who played his onscreen wife said: “Marlene without Boycie – it’s unthinkable. John Challis was my partner on screen and stage for 36 years and my beloved friend. R.I.P. darling John. I will miss you every day.”

Tributes to John Challis from fans

The announcement was shared on Twitter, with tributes immediately pouring in.

Cancelled show

Earlier this month John was forced to cancel his show Only Fools and Boycie after just one performance due to ill health.

In a statement, A Way With Media said the tour had been cancelled “with immediate effect”.

The show was set to “reveal secrets from the set with stories and anecdotes from his dazzling career,” with John slated to meet fans after the show to sign autographs and pose for pictures.

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