Iconic British TV comedian and actor Rik Mayall has died, aged 56, according to his manager.
The comedian associated with groundbreaking TV programmes such as The Comic Strip, The Young Ones, Blackadder and The New Statesman died on Monday morning.
His most famous role was playing Rick, the self-styled ‘people’s poet’, in the BBC’s anarchic, violent comedy The Young Ones.
Rik almost died in 1998 when the quad bike he was riding rolled on top of him, fracturing his skull. He spent five days on a ventilator showing zero signs of life.
He later told the Daily Mirror: “I beat Jesus Christ. He was dead for three days at Easter. When I crashed it was the day before Good Friday, Crap Thursday, and I was technically dead until Easter Monday – that’s five days.”
He was last seen in Channel 4 comedy Man Down and a guest-starring role in an episode of Jonathan Creek last year and he was believed to be attempting to revive his cult TV comedy Bottom.
The cause of death has not been announced. A statement from Mayall’s management, Brunskill, said: “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Rik Mayall who passed away this morning.
“We will be issuing a further statement in the fullness of time.”
Celebrities have rushed to Twitter to express their shock. Jack Dee wrote: “So shocked to hear about Rik Mayall. A wonderfully funny icon of British comedy.”
The Inbetweeners’ James Buckley wrote: “I’m rocked by Rik Mayall‘s passing. Was so lucky to have worked with him. Was such a hero and influence for me. Don’t really no what to say”
Charlie Brooker tweeted: “Rik Mayall was just pure wiry, energetic, unpredictable humour poured into the shape of a human. You couldn’t not watch him.”
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and children Sidney, Rosie and Bonnie.