British TV presenter Bruce Forsyth dies aged 89

He was known for his work on 'The Generation Game' and 'Strictly Come Dancing'

British TV presenter Bruce Forsyth dies aged 89

Picture by: Tim Ockenden/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 19.40

Veteran British TV presenter Bruce Forsyth has died at the age of 89.

In a statement, his manager said: "It is with great sadness that the Forsyth family announce that Sir Bruce passed away this afternoon, peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife Wilnelia and all his children.

"A couple of weeks ago, a friend visited him and asked him what he had been doing these last eighteen months.

"With a twinkle in his eye, he responded 'I've been very, very busy... being ill!' Unfortunately, not long after this, his health deteriorated and he contracted bronchial pneumonia."

The statement adds: "The family would like to express their thanks to the many people who have sent cards and letters to Bruce wishing him well over his long illness and know that they will share in part, the great, great loss they feel."

BBC director-general Tony Hall led tributes to "one of the greatest entertainers [the UK] has ever known".

Mr Hall stated: "I've never seen anyone quite like him when it comes to performing in front of a crowd."

Strictly Come Dancing presenters Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly paid tribute to a "gentleman and true legend" Sir Bruce Forsyth.

As the news of the iconic presenter's death broke, Ms Winkleman posted on Twitter:

Ms Daly said there were "no words" to describe her "heartbreak" at the news about the former Strictly presenter.

"From the moment we met, Bruce and I did nothing but laugh our way through a decade of working together on Strictly Come Dancing," she said.

"I will never forget his generosity, his brilliant sense of humour and his drive to entertain the audiences he so loved." 

Phillip Schofield described him as an "all round lovely man", and Gary Lineker tweeted "didn't he do well".

Joan Collins also paid tribute:

'Nice to see you...'

The game show host, famous for his "nice to see you, to see you nice" catchphrase, held the record for having the longest television career for a male entertainer.

That career in show business began when he was just 14 when he launched his song, dance and accordion act, Boy Bruce, The Mighty Atom.

He had decided to train in dance after watching Hollywood films starring Fred Astaire.

He performed throughout World War Two and travelled the UK with pantomimes and circuses where he became known for his strong-man act.

In 1958 an appearance with the comedian Dickie Henderson led to him being offered the job of compere on Sunday Night At The London Palladium.

Bruce continued to perform on stage throughout the 1960s and, in 1971, took on the job which would make him a huge household name.

It was on Bruce Forsyth And The Generation Game that the entertainer introduced the world to his 'The Thinker' pose - emulating Rodin's statue.

He also wrote and sang the theme tune Life Is The Name Of The Game.

He left the BBC in 1978 to present a show on ITV - but that turned out to be a flop.

After being replaced on the Generation Game, he then signed on to host ITV's Play Your Cards Right, and then You Bet! and The Price Is Right.

He returned to Saturday night BBC television in 2004 when he co-presented Strictly Come Dancing, which fought an ongoing ratings battle with ITV's The X Factor.

He was able to "keep dancing" until 2014, when he formally stepped down from hosting the live show due to the long studio hours.

As his TV commitments decreased, he could often be found on the golf course next to his home or with his wife Wilnelia, the 1975 Miss World champion from Puerto Rico.

He appeared on the Avalon stage at Glastonbury Festival in 2013 and recorded a special Christmas message for his Strictly fans in December 2015.

In the same year, he underwent surgery after suffering two life-threatening aneurysms.