Mystic Meg, one of Britain's most famous astrologers, dies aged 80

Margaret Lake, known as Mystic Meg, has died aged 80.

The astrologer had written daily horoscopes for The Sun newspaper for almost 23 years.

The paper reported that she was admitted to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, last month suffering from flu. She died at 3.45am on Thursday morning.

Her agent of 34 years Dave Shapland told The Sun: "Without any question, she was Britain's most famous astrologer by a million miles.

"Nobody came close to Meg in that respect. She was followed by millions in this country and also around the world.

"She even became part of the English language - if a politician, somebody from showbiz or ordinary people in the street are asked a tricky question they will say 'Who do you think I am, Mystic Meg?'

"It shows what an impact she made."

Victoria Newton, the editor of The Sun, said: "This is devastating news. We have lost an icon.

"Our brilliant and incomparable Meg was synonymous with The Sun - she was a total legend. We loved her and so did our readers.

"For more than two decades Mystic Meg has been a must read column and cemented her as Britain's most famous astrologer.

"She was a true professional whose guidance helped our readers daily - our postbag bears testament to this.

"One of my favourite memories of Meg is when all the Spice Girls came to the office, just as they were riding high at number one.

"We planned a tour for them but all they wanted to do was meet Mystic Meg!

"You know you're a true icon when the only person Victoria Beckham is interested in is you.

"Farewell Meg. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."

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Mystic Meg was born on 27 July 1942 in Accrington, Lancashire.

She received a teacher's diploma from the University of Leeds.

But she did not go into teaching and instead worked as a sub editor on a women's magazine.

Before she reached the peak of her fame, she wrote erotic stories and worked as a journalist at the now defunct News Of The World Magazine.

She became a household name when she started her phone-line horoscope readings in 1989.

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She was also a feature on the National Lottery TV show in the 1990s when she would appear on stage and with her crystal ball to predict who would win the weekly jackpot.

Her horoscopes and clairvoyant messages captured the imagination of the public and she received huge amounts of correspondence - including from angry Manchester United fans after she correctly predicted their team would lose to Everton in the FA Cup final in 1995.