Sir Ken Dodd has been described as a "legend" and an "inspiration" as celebrities and fans shared fond memories of the popular comedian following his death at the age of 90.

The comic, who died on Sunday just days after leaving hospital, was famous for his epic stand-up shows and his tickling stick, and had a legion of loyal followers whom he continued to entertain including many in Bradford.

He made frequent appearances at the city’s St George’s Hall and, more recently, delighted fans with a performance at the Alhambra.

He had played in Bradford almost every year since he starred in the Alhambra panto back in 1954.

In 1958 he starred in Alhambra panto Jack and the Beanstalk, still its longest-running panto, and he’s had an affection for Bradford ever since.

His November show at the Alhambra, which was to be the last time he played in city, lasted almost five hours.

"It's wonderful to be here," Doddy told his packed audience, adding: "At my age it's good to be anywhere."

A huge star throughout his career, he was invited to Bradford in 1979 to officially open Boardmans furniuture store on John Street.

When he was interviewed by Telegrpah & Argus features reporter Emma Clayton in 2016, he said: "My first Yorkshire show was the Alhambra, I drove from Merseyside on a Bank Holiday Monday. There was a band call in the morning and the stalls were covered in white sheets, everything was spotless. The drummer climbed out of the pit and went cycling up the aisle to get his lunch.

“Bradford audiences have good chuckle muscles - they bring out the best in me.”

He fondly recalled T&A theatre critic Peter Holdsworth, who heralded him as a rising star in the Fifties.

“We were good friends, he was a gent and he knew showbusiness more than most.” 

When he was asked if he was considering retiring, he said: “Hang up my Tickling Stick? How dare you, madam.

“I’m still stagestruck - right from when I was a boy and my father took me to the variety theatre in Liverpool. I saw great comics who played their audience like an instrument. That was my training ground. On stage you have 30 seconds to engage with them. In 60 years I’ve never done the same show twice.”

Today a statement from Bradford Theatres said: "So sad to hear the news this morning that this comedy genius has passed away.

"A regular performer at The Alhambra Theatre and St. George's Hall, Ken Dodd held the record for the longest running panto Jack and The Beanstalk in 1959/60 - giving out Easter Eggs from the stage as the run lasted so long."

As news of his death broke in the early hours of Monday morning, fellow comedians and television stars paid tribute to Sir Ken on social media.

Comic Gary Delaney called him "one of the all time greats", and, referencing the fact Sir Ken's shows could often last for hours on end, added: "The funeral will be held on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and most of Saturday."

Television personality Claire Sweeney, a fellow Liverpudlian, shared some photos of the star's 90th birthday party on Twitter.

Alongside them, she wrote: "RIP Sir Ken Dodd. A legend and an inspiration. I have a lot to thank You for. I Was thrilled you had the best birthday party in Liverpool before you left us. Your city, friends,Family and Show business will miss you terribly."

Paul Chan, known for playing Mr Wu in comedy series Benidorm, wrote about a chance encounter his mother had had with Sir Ken several decades ago.

He said: "In the late 70's he came to my mum's chippy and ordered fish 'n' chips. He left and sat in his Rolls Royce, parked outside, eating them. Then he came back in to ask for the bin and drove off. My mum didn't know who he was. That's my Ken Dodd story."

Other tributes came from actor John Challis, who played Boycie in comedy television series Only Fools and Horses, and Hollyoaks actor Annie Wallace, who described him as a "true son of beautiful Liverpool".

Irish comedian Dara O Briain, known for hosting panel shows such as Mock the Week, remembered seeing him at one of his "incredible 5 hour shows".

He said: "He was an education to watch and, afterwards, at 1.30 am, he had beers with me in the dressing room and talked showbiz. A privilege, and a loss. RIP."

Sir Ken died in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, at the same house in which he was born in 1927.

Julian Richings, who has appeared in films such as X-Men: The Last Stand, described him as a "music hall great, entertainment legend, Liverpool pride", adding: "The lights are out in Knotty Ash."

Fans also paid their own tributes, and many of Sir Ken's infamous jokes were shared on Twitter.

One fan wrote: "Appropriate that this should be announced at about 1:15am as this is the sort of time his shows finished. What a legend, happiness was your greatest gift to us."

And another said: "Thank you for your amazing sense of humour and the laughs.”