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Cilla Black said last year: ‘You don’t become a dame for doing what you enjoy, as I have, but if they want to give me one I wouldn’t turn it down.’ Photograph: Frazer Harrison/AFP/Getty Images

Cilla Black dies aged 72

WT24 Desk

The television personality Cilla Black has died at the age of 72 in Spain. Spanish police quoted by the Telegraph said on Sunday that British national Priscilla White – the Blind Date presenter’s real name – had died. “We are still awaiting autopsy results but everything at this stage is pointing towards her death being the result of natural causes,” a police spokesperson said.

She had been staying at her holiday home near the Spanish resort of Marbella. The Liverpool-born entertainer had been suffering from arthritis and deafness and told the Daily Mail last December she was “falling apart”. Black said she no longer felt able to work despite getting a series of offers following the ITV drama Cilla, in which Sheridan Smith depicted the early stages of her career.

In another interview earlier last year, she told the Radio Times: “I’m going to grow old disgracefully.” Figures from the world of entertainment and beyond paid tribute to Black on Sunday. The singer began her career, which spanned five decades, in 1963 with two number one singles: Anyone Who Had a Heart and You’re My World.

She was managed by Brian Epstein, who also managed the Beatles, after being introduced by family friend Richard Starkey – better known as Ringo Starr. Black met her husband, Bobby Willis, at the age of 17. He died of cancer in 1999. Black’s presenting career began in 1984 with Surprise, Surprise, which ran until 2001. However, she is best known for Blind Date on ITV, which ran for 18 years from 1985.

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