Monty Python star Terry Jones has died at the age of 77 after a long battle with a rare form of dementia, sparking an outpouring of tributes on Wednesday.
‘We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades,’ his family said in a statement.
They said the Welsh-born writer, actor, comedian and director died late on Tuesday at his home in north London with his wife at his side.
Jones directed some of the comedy troupe’s most-loved works, including the 1979 movie ‘Life Of Brian’, about a man mistaken for the Son of God, which sparked criticism from the Church.
Playing Brian’s mother, Mandy Cohen, he memorably delivered the line: ‘Now, you listen here! He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy!’
Fellow Python Michael Palin, with whom Jones also collaborated on the cult series ‘Ripping Yarns’, said his friend was generous, supportive and passionate and believed in living life to the full.
‘He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation,’ said Palin.
Jones appeared as a variety of characters in the BBC television series ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’, often portraying middle-aged ladies, and also its famous naked organist.
His second wife Anna and children Bill, Sally and Siri said he had fought an ‘extremely brave but always good-humoured battle’ with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which impaired his ability to speak.
They called him a ‘true polymath’, adding: ‘We lived in the presence of an extraordinarily talented, playful and happy man living a truly authentic life, in his words, ‘lovingly frosted with glucose’.’
Born in North Wales on February 1, 1942, his family moved to Surrey, southwest of London, when he was four.
He developed an interest in mediaeval history while studying at Oxford University, where he joined forces with Palin.
Jones wrote books and presented medieval television programmes throughout his career, and was an expert on the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, the English poet and author of ‘The Canterbury Tales’.
His college, St Edmund Hall, said it was ‘deeply saddened’ at his death. ‘He studied English here, was an honorary fellow and donated over 700 books to the library. He will be sorely missed.’
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