In a statement sent to media this morning by his agent, it was confirmed that TV personality and comedian Des O'Connor passed away in his sleep last night at the age of 88.

Born in East London to an Irish father and a Jewish mother, O'Connor's career in television spanned four decades, hosting his own show - albeit on different channels and in different formats - from the '60s right through to 2002.

O'Connor was also a host of 'Countdown', replacing Des Lynam from 2007 to 2008, as well as hosting 'Today with Des and Mel' for several years. As well as his television career, O'Connor was also a singer and scored a No.1 hit in Ireland with the song, 'I Pretend'. O'Connor would go on to release some 36 albums throughout his career.

"Des, who was 88, was so well loved by absolutely everyone. He was a joy to work with – he was talented, fun, positive, enthusiastic, kind and a total professional," his agent, Pat Lake-Smith, said in a statement. "He loved life, and considered enthusiasm almost as important as oxygen. He adored his family – they were everything to him. He is survived by his wife Jodie, their son Adam and his four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina."

Here's Des O'Connor on 'Morecambe & Wise', who frequently made fun of him - all with jokes written by O'Connor himself.