Entertainment legend Keith Harris has died

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Veteran entertainer and ventriloquist Keith Harris has died.

Mr Harris, famed for his routine with Orville the duck, passed away in Blackpool Victoria Hospital at around 4am this morning. He was 67.

His agent, Robert C Kelly, confirmed the news this morning, describing Mr Harris as a “thoroughly decent man”.

He had battled cancer of the spleen since 2013, leaving him out of action on the show circuit for more than a year as he was treated for the aggressive disease, but returned for three shows in December 2014.

But the entertainer took ill again in January and had spent some time in hospital before his death, The Gazette understands.

His career spanned five decades, with a BBC One prime time slot on Saturday nights in the 80s, The Keith Harris Show.

Picture Martin Bostock'Keith Harris and Orville, preparing for their appearance on Channel 4's Celebrity Come Dine With Me.

Picture Martin Bostock'Keith Harris and Orville, preparing for their appearance on Channel 4's Celebrity Come Dine With Me.

Mr Kelly said: “I spoke to Keith most days, whether we had business to do or not. I think I laughed every single time we spoke.

“Keith was not only a technically great ventriloquist, he was also a gifted mimic and an extraordinarily funny man both on stage and off.

“Perhaps even rarer than that in showbiz, he was a thoroughly decent man, a great friend and a wonderful father and husband.”

Mr Harris, who lived in Poulton, leaves three children, Shenton, 13, Kitty, 15, and Skye, 27, and his fourth wife, Sarah.