Comedian and panto star Phil Butler dies aged 51

Tributes have poured in for comedian Phil Butler, who has died aged 51.

The comedian and magician’s agents Chris Davis Management confirmed the news on Twitter, writing: ‘It is with huge sadness we have to announce the passing of our friend and client Phil Butler. Our thoughts are with his friends & family. The world is a poorer place without him.’

No cause of death has been given.

Butler worked as an entertainer on cruise ships, and most recently staged a show on Cromer Pier.

In 2006, Butler became one of the first comedians to perform for troops on the front line in Afghanistan, receiving the Operational Service Medal for his time there, and also wrote material for other comics.

A regular on the panto circuit, he had been set to play Silly Simon in the Nottingham production of Robin Hood this Christmas alongside Tristan Gemmill, Matthew Kelly and Matt Terry.

Butler’s final Instagram post came on October 3, when he marked the end of his Cromer Pier show with a caption reading: ‘Time to go home. #goodbyecromerpiershow2021 #seeyounextyear.’

His girlfriend, make-up artist Hannah Brown, said she was ‘living a nightmare’ following the news.

Brown wrote on Facebook: ‘I feel as though I’m living a nightmare right now. I really can’t express how much this gorgeous man meant to me. I am going to miss our laughs and silly jokes together and you calling me angel face, from the moment I met you, you instantly made my life so fulfilled and worth it, you made me the happiest and you still do and forever will.

‘I’m so sorry I wasn’t with you to say goodbye, everybody adores you and you are so loved by everyone. I’m always going to be thinking about what you are getting up to on your new adventure. I’m going to try my hardest to carry on your tiny planets page on instagram as I know it was your pride and joy.

‘My baby, I’m missing you madly and just know that you will forever be in my heart and there is no body in the world like you, you are one of a kind and I love you forever. Goodnight baby, thankyou for everything you’ve done for me and blessing me with meeting you and so many of your lovely friends and family. I love you my gorgeous Phil Butler RIP fluffy.’

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Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood was among those sharing his shock at Butler’s death.

He tweeted: ‘My thoughts at this time are with @philbutleruk family and friends. RIP lovely talented man. What a terrible shock. We worked together on panto Cinderella and he was a wonderful kind friend. We spent Xmas day and New Year together had a truly fabulous time. I’ll miss you terribly. We had so many great times together.’

Tristan Gemmill, who had been set to act alongside him in panto, tweeted: ‘I’ve just heard the devastating news about Phil Butler. A brilliantly funny man taken far too soon. My thoughts and best wishes go out to his family and friends.’

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! star Shaparak Khorsandi wrote: ‘Rest in peace Phil. Another one of us gone too soon. For 20 years I’ve looked at the running order when I’ve got to a club and gone ‘oh fab! Phil Butler’s on’. Such a laugh on the road. In Dubai I asked about his UFO tattoo and loved the way he told The Story. A class act.’

Benidorm star Asa Elliott tweeted: ‘Utterly devastated at the news Phil Butler has passed away. One of the funniest people I’ve ever had the privilege of calling my friend’, while Britain’s Got Talent impressionist Danny Posthill wrote: ‘So shocked and saddened at the death of Phil Butler. A great comedian who was such a laugh to be around. Sleep well my friend.’

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