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TV legend Eddie Large falls victim to coronavirus

Watched by millions: Eddie Large (left) with his partner Syd Little in 1976 PICTURE: REX

THE family of Eddie Large have told of their sadness at not being able to visit the comedian after he contracted coronavirus in hospital.

The Little & Large star, 78, whose partnership with Syd Little was watched by millions in their heyday, died yesterday. He was in hospital being treated for heart failure.

Sir Lenny Henry, Ant & Dec and Matt Lucas all paid tribute to the comic, whose real surname was McGinnis. He is survived by his wife Patsy (pictured with him below) and their three children.

His son Ryan McGinnis posted on Facebook: ‘He has been suffering with heart failure and unfortunately, whilst in hospital, contracted coronavirus, which his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight.

‘Dad fought bravely for so long. Due to this horrible disease we had been unable to visit him at the hospital but all of the family and close friends spoke to him every day.’

Large’s agent Peter Mansfield said: ‘His family were very sad not to be able to be in the same room as him, touching him, in the last week because of coronavirus. But they wanted to say thank you to the NHS which was fantastic throughout.’

Referring to the star’s heart transplant in 2003, Mr Mansfield added that his family were ‘grateful for the extra 17 years they have had with Eddie’.

Large, who grew up in Manchester, formed his double act with Little in 1963. The pair went on to win Opportunity Knocks and appeared regularly on TV for the next 20 years. Their BBC1 series The Little & Large Show attracted audiences of almost 15million before it was axed in 1991.

Ant & Dec tweeted: ‘We had the pleasure of working with him and Syd a few years ago. He just loved making people laugh.’

Matt Lucas wrote: ‘Eddie Large (along with his supersonic friend Syd) was really lovely and kind and encouraging to me when I was a nipper on Shooting Stars.’

And Sir Lenny recalled a Great Yarmouth show with the duo in 1978. ‘I’d never heard laughter like it,’ he said.