BRITAIN’S Got Talent’s Ian Royce has died aged 51 from severe pneumonia and multiple organ failure, it has been confirmed.
Ian was the beloved warm-up act for the ITV series, and last October he revealed that Ant and Dec and Simon Cowell had paid for him to go to rehab to combat his alcohol addiction.
The star’s family announced the sad news on Ian’s Twitter page this evening, writing: “It is with our greatest regret that we have to tell you all that Ian has passed away today from severe pneumonia and multiple organ failure.
“He was in no pain and was surrounded by friends and family. He put up a good fight but is in a better place now.”
Ian had last tweeted a week ago and appeared in high spirits as he challenged Ashley Banjo to a dance off after it was confirmed he’d be stepping in for injured Simon Cowell on the BGT judging panel.
He wrote to his 68,000 followers on 24th August: “@AshleyBanjo to sit in for @SimonCowell…
“Get well soon @SimonCowell and go @AshleyBanjo …. Dance off??”
Last year, the hype-man bravely admitted that he was battling alcoholism, with a friend creating a GoFundMe page to raise £20,000 for him to check into rehab facility The Priory.
In a video, Ian, who had admitted considering taking his own life in the fundraising bio, said: “Please, please, please give me some hope.”
BGT hosts Ant and Dec each donated £2,500, with Simon Cowell and Robbie Williams also among the donors.
Ian confirmed he’d be completing a 28-day programme in October last year, writing: “To rehab I do go… Thank you so much to everyone for your help…
“Pucker up @PrioryGroup I’m on my way.”
He also thanked his celebrity friends for their support – claiming that they had “saved his life”.
He wrote at the time: “I am so grateful to so many for saving my life….. Thank you so much everyone and my amazing girlfriend xx @SimonCowell @antanddec @robbiewilliams @ollyofficial thank you for a light…..”