Cilla Black, singer and TV star, dies in Spain aged 72
Singer and TV star Cilla Black, who enjoyed a 50-year showbusiness career, has died aged 72, police in Spain say.
The 1960s singing star became a popular TV celebrity on such shows as Blind Date and Surprise Surprise.
Police in Malaga said a woman named Priscilla White – Black’s real name – had died in Estepona in the Costa del Sol region, according to Reuters.
The death appeared to be due to natural causes, but this had not yet been confirmed by tests, police said.
Prime Minister David Cameron led tributes to the beloved entertainer, remembering her as “a huge talent who made a significant contribution to public life”.
“I am so sad and shocked by news about my good friend Cilla,” tweeted Dame Joan Collins. “She was a resplendent and rare talent.”
Fellow presenter Christopher Biggins described Black as a “national treasure” and “a wonderful friend”.
Broadcaster Noel Edmonds told BBC Radio 5 Live she “captured the hearts of the British people” because “she was our Cilla – there were no airs and graces.”
Born Priscilla White in Liverpool, Black changed her name to launch a singing career with hits such as Anyone Who Had a Heart and You’re My World.
She made her TV debut in 1968 with her own BBC One primetime series and went on to host a number of shows for ITV.
Last year Black received honours from Bafta and the Royal Television Society in recognition of her lengthy career.
A recent ITV drama series about her early years saw her played by the actress Sheridan Smith.
Her music career began while working as a hat check girl at Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club.
It was there she met her husband-to-be Bobby Willis and performed alongside such acts as The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers.