Leon’s fellow Gogglebox stars have been paying tribute to the late television legend, with I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! champ Scarlett Moffatt leading condolences.
The Extra Camp presenter shot to fame on the Channel 4 reality series and revealed that Leon – who was 83 when he died on Saturday (23 Dec 2017) following a short battle with illness – was a huge source of support for her behind the scenes.
She said: “Words can’t explain what you meant to so many people. From your words of encouragement to me to the little DMs. Leon you were loved by so many. Sending my love to you and all of your family.
A stream of other stars shared their sadness online, with Sandi Bogle writing: “I would like to send my condolences to all Leon and [June’s] family. So sad to hear about his passing. All my love and blessings”
Whilst Gogglebox creator Tania Alexander wrote on Twitter: “So deeply saddened at the passing of our dear, dear Leon.
“He was and always will be the grandfather of #gogglebox – an absolute star who always made me laugh with his sharp wit and unshakable opinions. Much love and strength to June.”
Keith Chegwin has died, aged 60, 11 December, after battling a long illness [Getty]
And Scott and Georgia McCormick added: “Omg I’ve just heard!!! poor#leon I’m gutted absolutely gutted@LeonAndJune sending all our love and strength . So so sorry to hear this . Xxxx (sic)”
Also paying tribute were Steph and Dom, writing: “So terribly sorry to hear the dreadful news about Leon!! “
Our hearts are with June and his family – what a dreadful loss to us all – he was always so cheeky and adored – the show will never be the same without him.”
Channel 4 confirmed Leon’s passing in a statement, saying it is “with a heavy heart” that the beloved star died on Saturday (23 Dec 2017), leaving behind his adoring wife June.
“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’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.”
The retired teacher and his wife June – who had 224,000 followers on Twitter – 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.”
The couple last tweeted on Friday (22 Dec 2017) writing: “Goodnight Folks! Christmas is almost hear
Let’s all try and remember it’s the Season on Goodwill however fraught we get!!”
Leon is survived by his wife, his two daughters and sons-in-law and his grandchildren.