Bobby Ball - one half of comedy double act Cannon & Ball - has died at the age of 76, his manager has announced.

In a statement issued this morning, it read: “It is with great personal sadness that on behalf of Yvonne Ball, and the family, and Tommy Cannon, I announce that Bobby Ball passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on the 28th October 2020 approximately 21:30.

“Bobby had been taken to the hospital for tests as he started with breathing problems. At first it was thought to be a chest infection but a test proved positive for Covid-19."

Cannon and Ball starred in pantomime at the Alhambra four times, and appeared many times on other Bradford stages.

More than 84,000 people flocked to see the Alhambra panto in 2000/2001, which starred the veteran duo, making it the most successful pantomime since 1994.

At the time, Alhambra general manager John Botteley said: "The combination of the starring roles has certainly proved to be a recipe for success. It has been a privilege to present a show with this level of appeal.

"Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball have performed more times at the Alhambra than any other double act."

They also starred in the Alhambra pantos in 1974/5, 1980/81 and 1986/7.

Cannon and Ball's other Bradford appearances include comedy show Ha Ha Hood! And The Prince Of Leaves in 2014, and the Best of British Variety Show at in 2008, both at St George's Hall. 

Bobby also performed solo at All Saints Church in Ilkley in 2016 in an 'entertaining and thought-provoking evening' talking about how fame and fortune left him searching for more and led him to find faith. 

He played the role of an Ilkley resident in the long-running series Last of the Summer Wine.

Today, Bobby Ball's manager said: “His wife Yvonne said the hospital and staff could not have been more wonderful, as they were outstanding in their care of duty and they did everything possible for him and she cannot praise them enough.

“She said that the family and Tommy would like to express their sincere thanks to the many, many people who have been fans of Bobby and they know that they will all share in part the great loss and total sadness that Yvonne, the family and Tommy all feel.

“Yvonne added that their need for privacy at this time has to be a priority. No further announcements or statements will be made.”

Ball’s wife Yvonne said: “I will always miss him, he was so joyful, full of fun and mischievous.”

Tommy Cannon said: “Rock on, my good friend, I can’t believe this, I’m devastated.”

Ball’s manager Phil Dale said: “Bobby was a true comedy star who loved entertaining people and he loved life itself. I spoke to him every day and it would always end in laughter.”

Did you ever see any of Cannon and Ball's many performances in Bradford? Share your memories in the comments below