The entertainment world was today in shock following the shock death of showbiz legend Cilla Black.
Cilla was found dead yesterday morning at her Spanish villa. She was 72.
During her long music and television career, Cilla performed in Blackpool on many occasions.
She is particularly remembered for a record-breaking 1969 summer season at the ABC.
She continued to perform regularly in the resort during the next decade.
Today Blackpool-based funnyman Bobby Ball described Cilla as “a wonderful lady”
He said: “The news is unbelievable, I am so shocked. I never expected anything like this, I thought Cilla would be around for ever.
“She was a wonderful lady and I performed with her many times with Tommy as Cannon and Ball.
“Before we made it, we appeared in panto with her in 1978 at the Liverpool Empire.
“She was so welcoming and there was Champagne in her dressing room for everyone and she used to buy fish and chips for the cast.
“She was one of those people who aren’t spoilt by their fame.
“There was nothing showbizzy about Cilla, she was the same as she always had been. What you saw was what she was like.
“She will be missed by everyone who knew her and by the millions of people who loved seeing her on television or hearing her sing.
“She was a lovely lady and I expected her to continue well into her old age entertaining us and making us all laugh.”
The news is unbelievable, I am so shocked. I never expected anything like this, I thought Cilla would be around for ever.Bobby Ball
Resort singing star Joe Longthorne added his voice to the tributes to Cilla.
Joe, who is resting as he receives treatment for throat cancer, appeared with Cilla on her TV hit Surprise Surprise in the 1990s.
He also recorded a version of Cilla’s hit Anyone Who Had A Heart.
Joe said: “Like everyone else, I am very shocked and will miss Cilla a great deal.
“We have stayed near her in Spain and I have worked with her a lot over the years.
“It’s difficult believe that she has gone at such a young age.”
“She will be greatly missed by all her fans and friends.”
Today , Cilla is best known for her long-running TV series Blind Date and Surprise Surprise which were ratings hits in the 1980s and 90s.
Cilla lived in Estepona on the Costa del Sol and suffered from hearing problems and arthritis.
She reportedly died overnight after flying to Spain with her son Robert.
Her publicist Nick Fiveash said: “It is with deep sorrow that I confirm the passing of singer and TV personality Cilla Black.
“Her family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time.”