Simon Cowell has paid tribute to his “very special” mother as X Factor auditions are set to begin after a break following her death.

Music mogul Simon thanked all those who had sent messages of sympathy since his mother Julie died aged 89.

Auditions for the ITV talent show were due to begin in Manchester on Monday but were cancelled.

Two days of try-outs for the new-look show are expected to be attended by Simon and fellow judges Rita Ora and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, as well as new presenters Olly Murs and Caroline Flack.

Julie Cowell, Simon Cowell and SinittaSimon Cowell with his mum Julie and friend Sinitta (Steve Parsons/PA)

Julie Cowell was the mother of four boys – Nicholas, Simon, Tony and Michael – and stepmother to John and June.

A family statement after her death read: “Anyone who had met her would know what a truly special and kind lady she was. We are heartbroken and will miss her terribly, but she is now at peace.”