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Gogglebox star Pete McGarry has passed away at the age of 71.
The TV favourite died at the weekend surrounded by his his family.
He passed following a battle with a short illness, according to Channel 4, which broadcasts the show, and production company Studio Lambert.
A statement issued on behalf of the family said: "We are deeply saddened to announce that Gogglebox star Pete McGarry passed away at the age of 71 this weekend with his family by his side after a short illness."
McGarry, along with wife Linda and her son, George Gilbey, originally joined the Channel 4 programme for its second series in 2013.
They left the show in 2014 when George entered the Celebrity Big Brother house.
They later returned to the programme for the seventh series without George in 2016 and have continued to appear as series regulars and firm favourites.
The statement continued: "Pete will be dearly missed by the entire Gogglebox family, cast and crew.
"Our thoughts are with Linda, their children and grandchildren.
"Since 2000, Pete and Linda have fostered over 100 children and he is a beloved father, husband and grandfather. The family have asked for privacy at this sad time."
The statement added that McGarry's death was not related to Covid-19.
Linda and Pete opened their home in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, to youngsters in need when George was 15.
Back in 2016 Linda told the Daily Star: “We’ve now fostered 68 children and it’s enhanced our lives so much. It’s very rewarding. I’ve just loved doing it.
"I always say all you need to be a foster parent is a spare room, a sense of humour and a good heart.
"I’ve just brought them up as my own. On Mother’s Day I get so many phone calls. They don’t forget you. A lot still regard me and Pete as their parents
The first child the couple fostered in 2000 was 11-year-old Chris who they went on to adopt.
She said: “He’s 26 now and we’ve still got him. I went through hell with him, but he’s just opened his own car site and we’re so proud of him. We’re all one big family."
Big-hearted Linda added: "We won't stop. While we're in our house it would be a waste not to because we've got room.
"It's not a hard job, it's our way of life. We'll do it for as long as we can."
On son George she said: “He’s always classed the other boys as his brothers. He was 15 when we started fostering and he never moaned. He always shared everything.
“He’s got a good heart. He does drive me mad, but he’s a good boy.
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