The comedy world is in mourning at the news that colourful agent Addison Cresswell – who counted Jonathan Ross and Jack Dee among his clients – has died.
The owner of talent agency Off the Kerb Productions is understood to have had a heart attack on Monday morning. A spokesman said the agent and producer "passed away in his sleep at home last night".
A charismatic and colourful figure in the comedy world, he was also known for negotiating his client Jonathan Ross’ controversial £18m three-year deal with the BBC in 2006.
A consummate businessman as well as a tough negotiator, his other company, Open Mike, is the production powerhouse behind some of TV's biggest comedy brands including Alan Carr’s Chatty Man for Channel 4 and BBC1’s Live at the Apollo.
The spokesman said: "Addison will be fondly remembered by all whose lives he touched as a devoted mentor, a dear friend and an unforgettable character. He will be sorely missed.
"He leaves behind a proud legacy in his tireless charity work, initiating and organising the annual Channel 4 Comedy Gala in aid of Great Ormond Street hospital. It was his dearest wish to raise enough to fund the opening of a brand new wing of the hospital, a goal that is now in sight."
He is survived by his wife, Shelley and their many pets.
Leading figures across the comedy world have taken to Twitter and other social networking sites to reveal their shock at the news.
Comedian Dara O Briain wrote: “Deeply saddened and shocked by the loss of Addison Cresswell. A good friend and a tremendous character; he will leave an un-fillable void.”
Actor and comic James Corden posted: “Such sad news about Addison Cresswell. An incredible man. An incredible talent.”
Writer and presenter Victoria Coren added: “Have just heard impossible news of the death of the great agent Addison Cresswell. How awful and shocking. He was a force of nature”.
Jack Whitehall tweeted: "Sad news about Addison Cresswell last time I saw him was last week giving me a bear hug as I came off stage. An amazing character we've lost."