SIR David Jason has paid tribute to John Chalice after the actor passed away at the age of 79.
The family of The Only Fools and Horses star announced his death in a statement this afternoon.
The much-loved star died peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with cancer.
Sir David, who famously played Cockney Wheeler dealer Del Boy in the sitcom, said: “Such sad news. John was such a lovely man, a fine actor and a friend of over forty years. It’s hard to think of a world without him. Condolences.” To his family at this incredibly sad time.”
‘Alo’ Alo! Star Vicki Mitchell wrote on Twitter: “Shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of such a wonderful man of Wonderful John Chalice. Loved by the nation. Condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Piers Morgan shared: “Rip John Challis, 79. Boyce was one of the funniest comic characters on British TV. Thanks for all the laughs, John.”
Danny Miller of Emmerdale said: “Devastated about the news of @BeingBoycie – what a really, lovely man. RIP John.”
Lord Sugar of The Apprentice also paid tribute, writing: “Another sad passing. John Chalis, who only played Boyce in Fools and Horses, has lost his battle with cancer. Great actor and funny man, RIP “
Three Degrees singer Sheila Ferguson said of her good friend: “I’ve been waiting for this for a few days. It’s with great sadness that I tell you that my dear friend, John Chalice (ofAh to Boyce) has just- Just passed. I’ve been in touch with his wife, Carol, who is obviously heartbroken, as am I. Much love, Sxx.
Whereas Lisa Riley said: “Dear John …. may you be in peace … the joy and laughter you brought to me and Al …. we had a lot of fun together …. to call you my friend Blessed for….. All our prayers are Carol today. The angels are crying with laughter, listening to your stories of Love from Me, Your Little Green Cupcakes and Al.”
John’s Benidorm co-star Danny Walters posted: “Saddened to hear of the passing of John Challis. A true legend in the entertainment industry and someone I admired working with early in my career. One True gentleman. Can you rest in peace my friend. My deepest condolences to his family at this time.”
John was such a lovely man, a fine actor and a friend for over forty years.
Sir David Jason
John was best known for playing second-hand car dealer Boycey in the iconic British sitcom Only Fools and Horses alongside Sir David and Nicholas Lindhurst.
Boyce, a cigar-smoking businessman who laughs, was married to feudal Marlene—played by Sue Holderness—and butt heads regularly with Del Boy.
Paying tribute to her “dear friend” today, Sue said: “Marlene without Boycey – it’s unimaginable. John Forty was my partner and my dearest friend on screen and stage for 36 years.
“Rip Darling John. I will miss you every day.”
Actress Chrissy Rock, who was seen opposite John in Benidorm, says she is heartbroken to hear the news.
She wrote on Twitter: “John you were a true gentleman and always had so much love and support towards me.
“I am thinking of your family and close friends during this difficult time. Rest.”
The news comes after John canceled a 30-date tour earlier this month after only one appearance due to ill health.
In a statement, his family said: “It is with a heavy heart that we bring you such sad news.
“Our dear friend and you, John Challis, have died peacefully in their sleep, after a long battle with cancer.
“He will always be loved for being the ‘boysie’ and has left a great legacy of work that will continue to bring joy and smiles for many years to come.
He will always be loved for being the ‘boysie’ and has left a great legacy of work that will bring joy and smiles for many years to come.
“Please respect the privacy of John’s family and friends during this difficult time, and rest assured that there will be an opportunity to celebrate John’s life in the future – when everyone is welcome to come together.”
He recently became an honorary citizen of Serbia, where the BBC sitcom is extremely popular.
Challis made the documentary Boysy in Belgrade, which explored why the show was so beloved in the Balkan country.
He was also known for playing Monty Staines in the ITV sitcom Benidorm.