Monty Python star Terry Jones has died at the age of 77, his agent has said.
In September 2015, the comedy legend was diagnosed as having frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a condition that affects the front and sides of the brain, where language and social control centres are based.
He first exhibited signs of health issues a year earlier, when he and fellow Python Michael Palin were performing with the rest of the surviving Flying Circus troupe in a show of sketches and songs, Monty Python live (mostly) at the O2 in London.
“Terry was always very good at remembering lines,” Michael said. “But this time he had real problems, and in the end he had to use a teleprompter.
“That was a first for him. I realised then that something more serious than memory lapses was affecting him.”
Terry’s family revealed his condition to the public in 2016.
Born in Colwyn Bay, Wales, in 1942, Terry moved to England as a child, growing up in Surrey.
What a wonderful talent, heart and mind.
He studied English literature at Oxford University, where he met fellow student Michael through the Oxford Revue.
Together they wrote and performed in a string of TV shows alongside the likes of Bill Oddie, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Peter Cook and David Jason.
Tributes are already pouring in on Twitter.
Farewell, Terry Jones. The great foot has come down to stamp on you. My god what pleasure you gave, what untrammelled joy and delight. What a wonderful talent, heart and mind
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) January 22, 2020
Terry Jones perhaps got less recognition than the other Pythons, who were stronger as performers – but he was the one who pulled the show together conceptually. All that distinctive Python stuff, linking the sketches, the meta gags – that was him. He had the vision, the ambition.
— Eddie Robson (@EddieRobson) January 22, 2020
Lovely Terry Jones, the heart of Python. Ripping Yarns remains so gloriously funny, and Bert Fegg's Nasty Book For Boys & Girls made me laugh like a small fool when I was eight. Very sad to see him go.
— Simon Blackwell (@simonblackwell) January 22, 2020
RIP the actual genius Terry Jones. Far too many brilliant moments to choose from. Here’s one random wafer-thin mint. https://t.co/qMrR9aOV9s
— Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker) January 22, 2020
You may not have the kind of affection for The Pythons that comedy fans of my vintage have, but know that if you've ever enjoyed any flavour of surreal, silly anti-comedy, you owe them.
And Terry Jones was the beating heart of it all.
What a man.
— Rufus Hound (@RufusHound) January 22, 2020
We're saddened to hear of the passing of Terry Jones. Here he is receiving the Special Award For Outstanding Contribution to Film & Television from friend and fellow Python Michael Palin, at the 2016 @BAFTACymru Awards. pic.twitter.com/iQGLTWIQyL
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) January 22, 2020
A very fond farewell to Terry Jones: Not only 1/6 of the Pythons, Mr Creosote, Arthur Two Sheds Jackson, Dino Vercotti, Mandy Cohen, Prince Herbert, Cardinal Biggles & the Nude Organist, but also esteemed director of all time comedy classic; 'Life Of Brian'. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/PeBDlvGfsD
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) January 22, 2020
According to the BBC, Terry passed away with his beloved wife, Anna Soderstrom, by his side.
His pal Michael Palin called the star “kind” and said he was “passionate about living life to the full”.
“[Terry] was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation,” the actor said, “He was the complete Renaissance comedian – writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children’s author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have.”
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