After the death of legendary British magician Paul Daniels at 77 years old, his wife Debbie McGee has given a heartbreaking interview, revealing details of his final days.
The sad news of his death was confirmed by his publicist on Thursday 17th March, who said: ‘One of our most beloved entertainers, Paul Daniels, has passed away at the age of 77.
‘The TV star, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier this year, passed away peacefully at home with Debbie at his side in the early hours of this morning.
‘Debbie and the family would like to thank everyone for their support and asks that their privacy be respected at this sad time.’
In an interview with the BBC, his wife Debbie revealed the details of Paul’s last few days, saying he didn’t know he was dying.
‘Paul didn’t know at all. The tumour was pressing on the part of the brain that processes information. So although he was talking and communicating and knowing who I was and everything, he actually wasn’t taking in new information, which is actually quite hard to tell’, Debbie said.
‘He never saw me cry. I smiled. I put my make up on and hair every day. Our life has been full of laughter and that’s what it’s been the last few weeks. Up until the last 48 hours when he slipped into a sleep’, she tearfully added.
Paul had been diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour last month, after suffering a fall at home, but refused treatment after being told it would not extend his life.
The family also announced Paul’s diagnosis through his publicist, who confirmed he had been diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour.
‘On behalf of Paul, Debbie and their families, we thank you for your kind concerns and support at this sad time and ask that their privacy continues to be respected.’
His son Martin told The Mirror: ‘Dad’s not going to get any better. There’s no treatment which can help him. Doctor’s haven’t said how many weeks or months he might have – and we haven’t asked. He knows things are not in his hands now and we are living in the knowledge every day is a bonus.’
The magician married Debbie McGee in 1988
The entire family were in shock when they discovered Paul’s tragic diagnosis, even though the he had been unwell lately, according to his son Martin.
‘I felt in a state of shock. I knew dad had not been himself. We’d both been in panto over Christmas and he said he felt tired’, Martin said. ‘But for many years he has had thyroid problems and the medication can make him feel ill so I put it down to that.
‘It was devastating for all of us. The doctors said the tumour was growing rapidly and could not be cured.’
Despite his terminal diagnosis, his son said Paul continued to be the entertainer he always was, trying to cheer up other patients at the hospital.
‘A couple of days after I arrived to see dad in hospital he was up and walking about trying to cheer up all the other patients’, Martin said. ‘He said to me, “Right I am going to have a wander round now and see if everyone is alright”. He went round the beds saying hello, making jokes. He sat at the nurses’ stations.
‘He was doing a little ditty by the door to the ward saying, “Roll up, roll up, visiting time is over folks”. But that’s dad. He is a natural showman, a natural entertainer and even at a time like that he wanted to try to make others happy. I think that’s been the secret why he was such a star on TV and stage.’
Paul was diagnosed with an inoperable tumour in February
Paul made his TV debut in an episode of ‘Opportunity Knocks’ in 1970, where he came second, and a few years later he appeared on the BBC series ‘For My Next Trick’. In 1979 he landed his own magic show ‘The Paul Daniels Show’, which ran until 1994.
He headlined shows in Las Vegas and Broadway and had a stage show in London named after his catchphrase ‘That’s Magic’, which was when he met Debbie McGee, the assistant who later became his wife in 1988.
In recent years, the magician had participated in several reality TV shows, like the celebrity series of ‘The X Factor’ and Channel 5’s ‘The Farm’. He also competed in the 2010 series of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, dancing with professional ballroom dancer Ola Jordan.
The talented entertainer also won numerous awards for his skills in magic, including the prestigious Magician of the Year Award by the Academy of Magical Arts in 1983, having been the first magician from outside the US to receive it.
Our thoughts are with his wife, children and rest of his family during this difficult time.