Gogglebox star Leon Bernicoff has died in hospital aged 83, Channel 4 has confirmed.
The broadcaster said it is “with a heavy heart” that the beloved star passed away on Saturday (23 Dec 2017), leaving behind his adoring wife June.
They said in a statement: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sad news that after a short illness Gogglebox’s Leon Bernicoff passed away in hospital earlier today.
“Leon and his wife June were the first members of the public to be cast for Gogglebox back in early 2013, and they soon grew to become much-loved voices during the course of the show’s 10 series to date.
“Leon’s unique personality and sharp wit endeared him to fans of the show, as he contributed fully to Gogglebox’s reputation as a programme full of warm humour and unvarnished opinion.
“To those of us that knew him personally, Leon was a man of unwavering principles who exerted a distinct paternal presence both on and off screen. He will be dearly missed by the entire Gogglebox family; cast and crew.
Keith Chegwin has died, aged 60, 11 December, after battling a long illness [Getty]
“Our thoughts are with June, his two daughters, sons-in-law and beloved grandchildren – all of whom have asked for their privacy to be respected at this incredibly sad time.”
The retired teacher and his wife June were one of the first couples to join the show’s cast when it launched in 2013.
June and Leon were based in Liverpool, and were much adored by Gogglebox viewers for their feisty antics.
The loved-up elderly couple were married over 60 years ago.
But Leon once said their relationship wasn’t all plane sailing, and speaking to the Daily Record, he revealed his Jewish family didn’t always sit well with June’s Catholic upbringing.
He added: “My parents in particular resented it. It was heartbreaking.”