HEARTBROKEN Syd Little has paid tribute to his comedy partner of 60 years Eddie Large after he died from coronavirus aged 78.
The pair were famous for their double act in the 1970s and 1980s and were fondly known as Little And Large by their beloved fans.
Syd has now paid tribute to his closest pal in a poignant interview after he tragically died alone in hospital as wife Patsy and his children were not allowed to visit due to Covid-19.
Speaking to BBC Radio Lancashire, Syd said: "He had been ill for a while but when it happens, it hits you.
"We were together 60 years. It wasn't like having a partner. We were friends."
The comic said he had remained in almost daily contact with his comedy partner and spoke to him on Wednesday night shortly before he passed away.
Syd added: "He was in pain, bless him, but he even asked me how are we up here [in Lancashire].
"He was so thoughtful to everybody."
Reflecting on their 60-year career, the comedian continued: "We did everything there was to do in showbiz and we did it together. Happy times."
After forming double act Little and Large in 1963, Syd and Eddie went on to win Opportunity Knocks and had a long-running comedy sketch show on BBC One in the 1970s and 80s that attracted audiences of millions.
Announcing his dad's death today, son Ryan wrote: "It is with great sadness that Mum and I need to announce that my Dad, Edward McGinnis, passed away in the early hours of this morning.
"He had been suffering with heart failure and, unfortunately while in hospital, contracted the coronavirus which his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight.
"Dad had fought bravely for so long. Due to this horrible disease we had been unable to visit him at the hospital but all of the family and close 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 was much loved by the millions that watched them each week."
In a statement, Little said: "I am devastated to have lost not just my comedy partner of 60 years, but my friend of 60 years."
Large, who lived near Bristol, leaves behind wife Patsy and his 26-year-old son. He also has two daughters and three grandchildren.
His agent Peter Mansfield confirmed his death, saying: "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."
He added: "He was at Southmead Hospital and the Papworth Hospital, which did his heart transplant 17 years ago, were in constant communication and a great help as well.
"The family wanted to say how grateful they are for the extra 17 years that they have had with Eddie. And a huge thank you to the donor and the donor's family."
The Glasgow-born comic, who grew up in Manchester, had suffered previous health troubles – particularly with his heart and kidneys.
He revealed how he spent weeks in intensive care before receiving a heart transplant in 2003.
He was later hospitalised after a serious fall near his home in 2013. While being treated, he contracted pneumonia, had pancreatic problems and a collapsed lung.
His ailing health is what sparked him to split from his Little and Large comedy act, saying it was the "hardest" thing he had to do.
He said: "That phone call to Syd was the most painful I've ever had to make.
"I was crying my eyes out because I knew I was putting him out of work. He had bills to pay. I felt horrible.
"We weren’t just a double act. We were mates, right from the start."
Tributes were paid to Large today, who was remembered as a "great chap" and a "gentle, funny man".
A tweet from Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly's joint Twitter account said: "So sad to hear about the passing of Eddie Large. We had the pleasure of working with him and Sid a few years ago. He just loved making people laugh. He will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family at this time. X"
Fellow comedian Timmy Mallett said: "Dear Eddie Large – thank you for the laughter and joy. Deepest condolences to all your family and friends."
Actress Kate Robbins tweeted: "Sorry to hear the comedian Eddie Large has died. What a great chap he was. A real pro. Rest in peace Eddie".
Linda Lusardi, who was only recently discharged from hospital after battling the deadly virus, said she was "devastated" by the news.
Little Britain's Matt Lucas paid tribute on Twitter, writing: "Eddie Large (along with his supersonic friend Syd) was really lovely and kind and encouraging to me when I was a nipper on Shooting Stars. So sad to hear of his passing."
TV host Piers Morgan described the comedy duo as "one of Britain's most beloved".
Jason Manford tweeted: "So sorry to hear about Eddie Large passing away. Came to every comedy and musical show I did whenever I hit Bristol and was always around for a chat about comedy and Man City afterwards. Such a gentle, funny man. RIP Eddie."
Manchester City FC, who Large supported, 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."
Paul Chuckle remembered Large as a "funny and lovely man" in a tweet, writing: "RIP the very talented Eddie Large. Such a funny and lovely man. Love goes out to his family at this time."
Boxer Frank Bruno tweeted: "RIP Eddie Large of Little & Large we spent loads of quality time together including pantomimes and TV appearances Funny funny man & great to work with."
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