Monty Python star Terry Jones has died at the age of 77, following a battle with dementia.
A statement from the comedian’s family said: "We are deeply saddened to have to announce the passing of beloved husband and father, Terry Jones.
"Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.
"Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in North London. We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades.
"His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programmes, poems and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath.
"We, his wife Anna, children Bill, Sally, Siri and extended family would like to thank Terry's wonderful medical professionals and carers for making the past few years not only bearable but often joyful. We hope that this disease will one day be eradicated entirely. We ask that our privacy be respected at this sensitive time and give thanks that we lived in the presence of an extraordinarily talented, playful and happy man living a truly authentic life, in his words "Lovingly frosted with glucose."
"Terence Graham Parry Jones, born 1 February 1942 died 21 January 2020."
Sir Michael Palin said in a statement to the PA news agency: "Terry was one of my closest, most valued friends. He was kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full.
"He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation, he was the complete Renaissance comedian - writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children's author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have.
"I feel very fortunate to have shared so much of my life with him and my heart goes out to Anna, Alison and all his family."
Fellow Python Cleese tweeted: "Just heard about Terry J. It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away...
"Of his many achievements, for me the greatest gift he gave us all was his direction of 'Life of Brian'. Perfection.”
“Two down, four to go,” he added, in reference to the living members of the troupe. Graham Chapman died in 1989.
Just heard about Terry J
It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away...
Of his many achievements, for me the greatest gift he gave us all was his direction of 'Life of Brian'. Perfection
Two down, four to go
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) January 22, 2020
Stephen Fry tweeted: "Farewell, Terry Jones. The great foot has come down to stamp on you. My god what pleasure you gave, what untrammelled joy and delight. What a wonderful talent, heart and mind."
Radio presenter Tony Blackburn tweeted: "So sorry to hear Terry Jones has passed away, I just love Monty Python. RIP Terry and thanks for all the laughs."
So sorry to hear Terry Jones has passed away, I just love Monty Python. RIP Terry and thanks for all the laughs.
— Tony Blackburn (@tonyblackburn) January 22, 2020
Comedy actor David Schneider tweeted: "News that arrives like a punch to the gut. Thanks for making us laugh so much, Terry."
Comic Katy Brand tweeted: "So sorry about Terry Jones.
"Just a very, very, very funny man. And a kind, thoughtful, interesting, and curious one too. What a great body of work he has left though. #TerryJones."
Writer Charlie Brooker tweeted: "RIP the actual genius Terry Jones. Far too many brilliant moments to choose from."
Tweeting a clip of the famous Mr Creosote sketch from The Meaning Of Life, Brooker added: "Here's one random wafer-thin mint."
Blackadder star Tony Robinson wrote: “I loved working with Terry Jones on Nicobobinus for Jackonory. Two hearts with but a single intent. Rest your heavy head in peace mate.”
Simon Pegg, who starred in Jones’ film Absolutely Anything tweeted simply a picture of Jones and a broken heart emoji.
Film director Edgar Wright wrote: “A very fond farewell to Terry Jones: Not only 1/6 of the Pythons, Mr Creosote, Arthur Two Sheds Jackson, Dino Vercotti, Mandy Cohen, Prince Herbert, Cardinal Biggles & the Nude Organist, but also esteemed director of all time comedy classic; 'Life Of Brian'. He will be missed.”
Comedia Rufus Hound tweeted: “You may not have the kind of affection for The Pythons that comedy fans of my vintage have, but know that if you've ever enjoyed any flavour of surreal, silly anti-comedy, you owe them. And Terry Jones was the beating heart of it all. What a man.”
Writer Neil Gaman wrote: “36 years ago I met Terry Jones. I was meant to interview him. I asked for tea, so he opened a bottle of Chablis & got me drunk. He was funny, brilliant and honest. He was irrepressible and is seen here repressing the very young me. Rest in Peace, Terry. You were an inspiration.”
36 years ago I met Terry Jones. I was meant to interview him. I asked for tea, so he opened a bottle of Chablis & got me drunk. He was funny, brilliant and honest. He was irrepressible and is seen here repressing the very young me. Rest in Peace, Terry. You were an inspiration. pic.twitter.com/fNBJZwOFcX
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 22, 2020
Jones was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, a form of frontotemporal dementia which effects speech and communication. Concerns for his health were first raised during the Monty Python reunion show Monty Python Live (Mostly) in July 2014 when he struggled to learn his lines.
Announcing his diagnosis in 2015, a representative said: “Terry has been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, a variant of frontotemporal dementia.”
In November Palin revealed Jones could no longer speak, but added: “He can laugh.”
Terry Gilliam, 79, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, 76, and John Cleese, 80 formed surreal comedy group Monty Python with Jones and late Graham Chapman in 1969 after meeting at university. Jones and Palin met at Oxford, while Cleese, Chapman and Idle met at Cambridge. They then joined forced with American writer and director Gilliam after Cleese met him in New York. Chapman died aged 48 in 1989.
Hit BBC sketch show Monty Python’s Flying Circus first aired in 1969. Jones directed episodes of the show and also wrote and directed Monty Python films The Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.
Jones most recently directed Absolutely Anything starring Simon Pegg in 2015.