Only Fools And Horses star John Challis has died after a "long battle" with cancer.

The actor, who was best known for his role as Terrance 'Boycie' Boyce in the sitcom, died peacefully in his sleep, aged 79.

His family shared the sad news of his death in a statement, the Mirror reports.

READ MORE:House of horrors where six children lived surrounded by dog dirt

John began his TV career starring in the likes of the Newcomers and Z-Cars in 1967.

Over the years, he also appeared in Coronation Street, The Sweeney, Doctor Who, Open All Hours and countless other shows.

John will also be remembered for his roles in Only Fools spin-off The Green Green Grass and Benidorm.

John Challis being interviewed about being Boycie in 2015
John Challis being interviewed about being Boycie in 2015

He starred in a few movies too, including Dream and Subterrain in 2001.

John's family broke the sad news in a statement, saying: "It is with heavy hearts that we bring you such sad news.

"Our dear friend and yours, John Challis, has died peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer.

"He will always be loved for being ‘Boycie’ and leaves a great legacy of work that will continue to bring pleasure and smiles for many years to come.

"Please respect the privacy of John’s family and friends at this difficult time, and be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John’s life – when everyone will be welcome to come along."

They also said that donations in his memory can be made to his chosen animal charities Cuan Wildlife Rescue, Tusk or the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

The Liverpool Echo sends newsletters on a wide range of topics - including our daily news bulletin, now going out three times a day.

There are others on what's on, politics, court news, Knowsley, Wirral, and arts & culture, as well as both Liverpool FC and Everton FC.

Signing up is free and it only takes a minute for you to get the biggest stories, sent straight to your inbox.

How to sign up for an Echo Email Update

1) Go to our dedicated newsletter page at this link.

2) Put your email in the box where indicated

3) Tick as many boxes as you like, for each newsletter you want.

4) Press Save changes and that's it!

Their statement added: "As Boycie would have said… you know it makes sense!"

It was announced earlier this month that John had been forced to cancel several tour dates due to ill health, having been diagnosed with cancer in 2019.

Tributes have flooded in since the sad news of his death broke, with The Three Degrees singer Sheila Ferguson tweeted: "I’ve been waiting for this for a few days now.

"It is with great sadness that I tell you that my dear friend, John Challis (Boycie from OFAH) has just passed.

"I’ve been in touch with his wife, Carol, who is obviously heartbroken, as am I. Much love,

Strictly Come Dancing's Richard Coles tweeted: "Oh no, @BeingBoycie has died! I only knew him on Twitter but he was lovely #RIPBoycie"

There are three ways to get more involved with the Liverpool Echo - sign up now to all of them to get the hat trick!

* See all our our brilliant newsletters and sign up by clicking here

* Download our free app for iPhone or for Android to take the news with you

We're made up that you read the Echo - so want to offer you great opportunities to Complete The Set and get more involved now!

TV channel Gold posted: "We are saddened that the wonderful John Challis who played Boycie so brilliantly in Only Fools and Horses and The Green Green Grass has passed away at 79. We adored working with John and will always treasure his on-screen brilliance. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."

John got much joy from playing Boycie in Only Fools, which he starred in alongside Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst.

He had released two autobiographies charting his career, called Being Boycie and Boycie & Beyond.

Charles married fourth wife Carol in Brighton in 1995. He didn't have any children.

Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what's on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here