Reacting to the devastating news, Mel Sykes – who co-hosted Today With Des and Mel with O’Connor – wrote in an Instagram post: ‘Des had the softest hands of anyone I ever met and the kindest of hearts.
‘He had talent in every fibre of his being and was stubborn as a mule. He was the full ticket as a friend and colleague. When he chose me to be his co host on the ‘Today’ daytime show it was one the greatest days of my professional life.
‘It was an education and a privilege to work with him for the years that followed. We worked long hours but always laughed lots, not least because when it it was showtime he would always tell me I looked like robbers dog! These years I will never forget and nor will I forget him. Darling Des you will be forever missed. Melanie x.’
X Factor host Dermot said: ‘Ah the saddest news. Proper stalwart and legend. Met him a few times, when I was starting out, and he was always so supportive and generous with his time. Will miss that cheeky knowing smile. Rest in peace Des.’
Presenter Gaby Roslin paid her respects and tweeted: ‘Such sad news about Des O’Connor. He was such a sweet man and he had a twinkle in his eyes. He was always so warm to his guests on every show he did. My love and thoughts to his family and friends.’
Good Morning Britain star Richard Arnold added: ‘Des O’Connor. Veteran twinkler. An absolute joy to meet over the years. Snapped here – where else – but the @LondonPalladium Condolences to Jodie and family.’
Sharing fond memories, Right Said Fred tweeted from their account: ‘He was a lovely man. His daughter was in a band, he would turn up looking really dapper at The Greyhound or some other grubby music venue to support her.’
Red Dwarf star Danny John-Jules wrote: ‘RIP Des O’Connor. A lovely man.’
Call The Midwife star Stephen McGann tweeted: ‘Now Des O’Connor. 🙁 Never took himself too seriously, which I always liked. That generation of variety stars are slowly slipping away.’