Monty Python star Terry Jones has died at the age of 77, after a four-year-long fight with a rare form of dementia.
His family remembered the beloved actor, director and comedian for his “long, extremely brave but always good-humoured battle”.
“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,” they said.
Jones had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in 2016. The neurological condition had affected his ability to communicate, and eventually the comedy great was no longer able to speak.
He “slipped away” on January 21, surrounded by close family and friends.
Having directed some of the comedy troupe’s most-loved works, including Life Of Brian, Jones was described by actor Sir Michael Palin as “one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation”.
“I shall miss our trips to the bar, I shall miss our pints…he was the most wonderful friend,” he said.
Jones was also lauded by John Cleese as “a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm”.
His family said in a statement on Wednesday night:
“We are deeply saddened to have to announce the passing of beloved husband and father, Terry Jones.
“Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.”
The statement said Mr Jones’ wife, children, other relatives and friends had been by his side as the comedian “gently slipped away” at his London home.
“His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programmes, poems and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath.
” … We ask that our privacy be respected at this sensitive time and give thanks that 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 Wales, Jones went on to carve out a successful career in comedy, acting, writing, and directing – including Monty Python And The Holy Grail in 1975 with Terry Gilliam.
Jones appeared in the TV series Monty Python’s Flying Circus in a variety of characters, and was known for his performances in drag.
The group’s Life Of Brian film in 1979, about a hapless man mistaken for Jesus, was attacked as blasphemous at the time but has since been voted the funniest classic comedy in a poll compiled by the magazine Total Film.
Often on-screen in a frock, the comedian was behind some of the group’s most memorable lines.
Now, you listen here! He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy!’’
– As Brian’s mother in Life of Brian
What, the curtains?
– Jones in Holy Grail, as Prince Herbert reacting to the news that ‘‘One day, lad, all this will be yours’’
On-screen, his much-loved characters included Arthur “Two Sheds” Jackson, Cardinal Biggles of the Spanish Inquisition and Mr Creosote, the monstrously obese restaurant patron.
Mr Jones also directed The Meaning Of Life in 1983, the Pythons’ last film together.
His other credits include The Wind In The Willows in 1996, with performances from Eric Idle, Michael Palin, and John Cleese, 2015 comedy Absolutely Anything, and Personal Services (1987).
Mr Jones had two children with Alison Telfer, whom he married in 1970, and became a father again at the age of 67, with second wife Anna Soderstrom.