TRIBUTES have been paid to the comedian Eddie Large who died on Thursday morning after contracting coronavirus. 

Large and double act partner Syd Little were one of the biggest TV draws in the 80s, watched by millions.

In a statement the comic’s son, Ryan McGinnin, said the 78-year-old star star had been suffering with heart failure and had contracted coronavirus during a hospital stay.

“His heart was sadly not strong enough to fight,” McGinnis said. “Dad had fought bravely for so long. “

He added: “Due to this horrible disease we had been unable to visit him at the hospital but all of the family friends spoke to him every day. 

“We will miss him terribly and we are so proud of everything he achieved in his career with Syd and know that he much loved by the millions that watched them each week.”

Little said he was "devastated" by the news.

"He had been ill for a while but when it happens, it hits you," he said.

"We were together 60 years. It wasn't like having a partner. We were friends."

Little said he had remained in almost daily contact with his stage partner, and spoke to him on Wednesday night, shortly before he died.

"He was in pain, bless him, but he even asked me how are we up here [in Lancashire]," he said. "He was so thoughtful to everybody."

Reflecting on their decades-long career, he added: "We did everything there was to do in showbiz and we did it together. Happy times."

Large was a Scot, born Edward McGinnis, in Glasgow in 1941, 

He and Little became overnight stars in 1971 after winning the TV talent show Opportunity Knocks. 

They were rarely off the box in the years that followed, appearing on the comedy sketch/impressions show Who Do You Do? and guest spots on shows like The David Nixon Show and Seaside Special.

The Little and Large Show made its TV debut  in 1977 and was on air until 1991 drawing in audiences of around 15 million.

His agent Peter Mansfield told the PA news agency: "His family were very sad not to be able to be in the same room as him, touching him, in the last week because of coronavirus.

"They were only able to speak on the phone, which was obviously very sad for them.

"But they wanted to say thank-you to the NHS which was fantastic throughout."

Ant and Dec were among a host of stars paying tribute to Large on Twitter, writing: "So sad to hear about the passing of Eddie Large.

"We had the pleasure of working with him and Syd a few years ago. He just loved making people laugh. He will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Comedy star Russ Abbot said in a statement: "Eddie was one of the best. Totally and naturally funny.

"I was very fortunate to be around in the same era as him. He had the best years on TV.

"He was a tough act to follow. Hugely popular but more than that, a thoroughly nice man. My thoughts go out to Patsy and family. RIP Eddie"

Jason Manford tweeted: "Such a gentle, funny man. RIP Eddie."

Lenny Henry recalled "midnight matinee Great Yarmouth" in 1978.
He added: "They finished part one. I'd never heard laughter like it. Rude, raucous and rollicking. Dunno how they did it, but Eddie's energy and electricity and impressions and props and improv were hugely impressive. R.I.P."

Comic Jimmy Cricket paid tribute to the star: “I worked many times with him and his partner Sid, they were not only a great act, but such fun to be with! Our thoughts and prayers goes to Patsy and Ryan and family xx”

Timmy Mallett tweeted: “Dear Eddie Large - thank you for the laughter and joy. Deepest condolences to all your family and friends #RIP”

Kate Robbins described Large as “a great chap” 

“A real pro. Rest in peace Eddie Red heart,” she tweeted. 

Machester City Football Club tweeted: "Everyone at Manchester City is sad to hear that lifelong City fan and celebrity Eddie Large has passed away aged 78. 

"Our thoughts are with Eddie’s friends and family at this difficult time."

Earlier this year, in one of his last interviews, he told Bristol’s Western Daily Press, why he thought he and Little worked so well together. 

"First of all, we were friends before showbusiness was even thought about.

"Syd's always played guitar and sang songs around pubs and social clubs. We were just a gang of teenagers used to seeing him singing in his pub.

"And I love singing and got up one night, sang a song with him - I think I'm Cliff Richard, not realising I'm 5 feet four and 14 stone - so I think they were laughing at the antics really. And it sort of grew from there.

"Our mates encouraged us to make more songs and it was just like a hobby we were making money out of.

"We'd see Eric and Ernie at the Palladium never dreaming that we'd be on that stage. Things just happened to us.

"I think it was the environment because you couldn't get big-headed in these clubs, especially in South Wales, the north-east and South Yorkshire where they didn't take any nonsense. We'd faced the worst so nothing fazed us."