SIR Ken Dodd has passed away at the age of 90 just two days after marrying his partner of 40 years, his publicist has said.
The comedian, famous for his stand-up shows, as well as his Diddy Men and tickling stick, died at the home where he was born in the Liverpool suburb of Knotty Ash.
Sir Ken was being treated at the Liverpool Heart and Chest hospital for six weeks with a chest infection before being discharged a fortnight ago.
Earlier we reported that the iconic stand-up was cancelling his upcoming shows due to health woes.
His publicist Robert Holmes said Sir Ken married Anne Jones, 76, on Friday at their house, where he has lived for his entire life and died two days later on Mother's Day.
Paying tribute, Mr Holmes said: "To my mind, he was one of the last music hall greats.
"He passed away in the home that he was born in over 90 years ago. He's never lived anywhere else. It's absolutely amazing.
"With Ken gone, the lights have been turned out in the world of variety.
"He was a comedy legend and genius."
He added: "He asked Anne if she wanted to marry. They got the registrar and were married in the house on Friday.
"He died two days later on Mother's Day. Anne is obviously very upset. They had been together for 40 years.
"It's a love story to beat them all."
Dodd spent six weeks at the Liverpool Heart and Chest hospital where he was treated for a chest infection before being discharged two weeks ago.
Speaking after his dismissal from hospital, he said: "I have been so very, very well-treated – I can’t praise the staff here too highly.
"They have been absolutely wonderful. And the kindness and, dare I say it, affection I have been shown has been absolutely amazing."
Actor John Challis, who played Boycie in comedy television series Only Fools and Horses, was one of the first to pay tribute following the news of his death.
He tweeted: "So sorry to hear we have lost Ken Dodd.I met him once and I've never forgotten it.Gawd bless 'im."
Dara O Briain said he was "so happy" he had had the chance to meet Sir Ken.
The Irish comedian, known for hosting panel shows such as Mock the Week, said on Twitter: "Ah, Ken Dodd has died. So happy I got to meet him once, and more importantly, saw him do one of his incredible 5 hour shows.
"He was an education to watch and, afterwards, at 1.30 am, he had beers with me in the dressing room and talked showbiz. A privilege, and a loss. RIP."
Fellow Liverpudlian Claire Sweeney described Sir Ken as a "legend and an inspiration".
The television personality shared some photos of the comedian's 90th birthday party on Twitter, saying: "RIP Sir Ken Dodd. A legend and an inspiration. I have a lot to thank You for.
"I was thrilled you had the best birthday party in Liverpool before you left us. Your city, friends,Family and Show business will miss you terribly."
Sir Ken continued to perform right through to his later years, bringing the energy and stamina of a man half his age to his manic routines in theatres up and down the land.
Even when he was taken to hospital for a "minor operation" on New Year's Eve in 2007, it came just hours after completing a four-hour sell-out gig at Liverpoool's Philharmonic Hall.
The entertainer's career kicked off after his father bought a Punch and Judy for his eighth birthday, and he began charging school friends twopence to sit on orange boxes and watch the puppets.
It was a penny to stand at the back and a cigarette card for the hard-up.
He left school at 14 and worked with his brother Bill, heaving Arley cobbles and Houlton kitchen nuts for six years as part of his father's business.
But in his spare time, the former choirboy was singing and developing a stand-up comic routine at working men's clubs - script by his father, costumes and general support by Mrs Dodd.
He would describe himself as "Professor Yaffle Chuckabutty. Operatic Tenor and Sausage Knotter."
The Theatre Royal, Nottingham, saw his £75-a-week debut in 1954 as Professor Chuckabutty, and within two years he was topping the bill at Blackpool, with bits such as the famous Diddy Men, the Broken Biscuit Repair Works, the Jam Butty Mines, the Moggy Ranch and the Treacle Wells.
This was followed by countless BBC series, including The Ken Dodd Show, Beyond Our Ken and Ken Dodd's Laughter Show, and he entered the big time in 1965 with the longest-ever run at the London Palladium of 42 weeks.
In 1994, his Ken Dodd: An Audience with Ken Dodd show was filmed and released on video, followed in 1996 by the Ken Dodd: Live Laughter Tour and then Another Audience With Ken Dodd in 2002.
Also a well-known singer, in 1964 he released his first single, Happiness, followed by smash hit, Tears, the following year, and then Promises.
Over the 1960s, he entered the Guinness Book of Records for the longest joke-telling session ever - 1,500 jokes in three-and-a-half hours.
His first fiancee, Anita Boutin, who he had been with for 24 years, died of a brain tumour in 1977.
He later found love again with Anne, a former Bluebell dancer, who he married on Friday.
He was awarded an OBE in 1982 and was dubbed a knight by the Duke of Cambridge in 2017 - the year of his 90th birthday - in recognition of both his comedic legacy and his charity work.
For the milestone birthday on November 8, he was honoured by the Knotty Ash community with a party serving up jam butties and Diddy pies at Liverpool Town Hall.
A Freeman of the City, he told the Liverpool Echo of the impressive anniversary: "There's nothing you can do about it. It's compulsory! And it's no use living in the past - it's cheaper but you can't live in the past.
"Knotty Ash is my home - it's the centre of my life and always has been. My family are still here with me in memories. I had the most wonderful family - fabulous mother and father, and wonderful brother and sister."
As he marked more than 60 years of performing he vowed to his fans: "I can't let the British public down, as long as they keep turning up - I'll be there to give back the enormous happiness they've given me."