Comic actor Eric Sykes has died at the age of 89 after a short illness.

In wide-ranging career, he will be remembered best for the long-running and widely acclaimed Sykes And A… TV series with Hattie Jacques.

He also wrote scripts for stars such as Peter Sellers, Frankie Howerd and Stanley Unwin.

His manager, Norma Farnes, said: “Eric Sykes, 89, star of TV, stage and films died peacefully this morning after a short illness. His family were with him.”

Sir Bruce Forsyth paid tribute to the Oldham-born star and scriptwriter, who appeared on the West End stage. “Eric was one of the greats of comedy in this country,” he said. “He was universally loved here.”

Actor Bernard Cribbins, who starred in two of Sykes’ comedy shorts, The Plank (1979) and It’s Your Move (1969), also paid tribute: “I just wish him a lot of rest up there with all the other comics, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. They will all be up there, having a laugh together.”

TV star Michael Palin said of Sykes: “He was one of the nicest, most decent men in the business and one of a kind.”

Comedian Ken Dodd said: “He was a genius at creating comedy, he found laughter in anything. More than anything else, he loved everybody and everybody loved him.

“He worked with the great stars, but never got big-headed.”

Sykes’ film credits include Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (2005) and Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (1965). He was also a novelist, director and producer.