The loss of Bobby Ball death 'devastated' his showbiz peers and fans alike today, with the sprightly septuagenarian always promising he wouldn't stop making people laugh.

The legendary actor and comic worked his way up from working mens clubs and local theatres to entertaining 20million people on ITV on a Saturday night as one half of comic duo Cannon&Ball.

After the hugely successful variety show was taken off air in 1988, Bobby continued to work in pantomimes with his comedy partner Tommy Canon and bagged himself numerous roles in a number of hit sitcoms.

He even tried his hand at reality TV in his 60s as he endured a stint on gruelling reality show I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

Today it was revealed that the much-loved star had died at the age of 76 in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus.

His beloved wife of 46 years Yvonne said in a statement: "I will always miss him, he was so joyful, full of fun and mischievous."

Bobby and Tommy hosted ITV's The Cannon and Ball show together for nine years between 1979 and 1988
He continued to steal the show on I'm A Celebrity in 2005

Standing at 5ft 4ins, Bobby was a force of energy who always said he couldn't imagine a life without comedy.

Speaking to the Mirror in 2015, the then 71-year -old admitted: "I could never call it quits. If no promoters booked me, I’d be out there busking. I’m a ham and love to make people laugh, it’s a fantastic job."

The funnyman said nothing gave him more pleasure than hearing fans continue to yell his famous 'Rock on , Tommy!' catchphrase at him in the street.

"It’s been a massive honour to entertain people," Bobby admitted.

He then poignantly revealed: "That’s all I want written on my gravestone – 'He gave us a laugh!'"

Bobby died this week at the age of 76
He joked he was 'too much of a ham' to stop working

After the heartbreaking news of Bobby's death was announced today, many of his showbiz friebds, paid tribute to his incredible career.

His best friend and comedy partner for more than 40 years Tommy Cannon said he was devastated' by the news.

"Rock on, my good friend, I can't believe this, I'm devastated," he shared.

TV star Les Dennis described Ball as a "true entertainer with real funny bones".

In a tweet, he said: "Just heard the sad news that the wonderful Bobby Ball has died. He was a true entertainer with real funny bones. Thoughts with Tommy,Yvonne and his family at this sad time. RIP Bobby."

Comedian Jason Manford said he was "heartbroken" at the news of Ball's death.

Cannon and Ball with Des O'Connor

He tweeted: "So heartbroken to read about the passing of comedy legend Bobby Ball. Such a hilarious man. The comedy community is a poorer place without him. "RockOn "RIPBobbyBall".

BBC radio presenter Tony Blackburn tweeted: "So sorry to hear that Bobby Ball has passed away. He was a very funny man and gave us some good comedy over the years. R.I.P. thanks for the laughs".

Peep Show star Neil Fitzmaurice tweeted: "I'm on my way to The Sharpe Project. A place we filmed Mount Pleasant at for 8 years. A place we shared love and laughter with Bobby Ball! I've just heard he's gone! Heartbroken doesn't cover it! A wonderful, funny, kind extremely talented gentleman. God Bless you Bobby! X".

Bobby leaves behind wife Yvonne and their daughter Joanne

In a statement shared by Bobby's manager to break the news, it was revealed that he had passed away in hospital after being admitted with breathing problems.

What was thought to be a chest infection was then diagnosed as COVID-19 after Bobby took a test.

The statement read: "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.