The Belfast-born comedian FRANK CARSON has died aged 85, after losing a battle with cancer. According to a report from BBC News, Carson had been suffering with ill health for some time and passed away yesterday (February 22, 2012) at home, in Blackpool, Lancashire. Although he underwent a successful stomach operation for the cancer last year, his ailments still troubled him.
Carson is survived by his wife, three children, ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild. A family statement read "He went peacefully at his home in Blackpool surrounded by his greatest fans - his extended family. We will be taking him home to Belfast to lay him to rest and celebrate his joyful life. It's quieter down here now. God help them up there!!" The statement echoes a joke that Frank once told about his headstone, saying that it would read "'Rest In Peace' and then, underneath that 'and so will we.'" The popular comedian was known for his catchphrases "It's a cracker" and "It's the way I tell 'em."
Frank Carson found fame in the 1960s. His big career break came when he won Opportunity Knocks and he went on to feature in the 1970s TV series The Comedians, alongside other stand-ups such as Bernard Manning, Jim Davidson and Jim Bowen. After appearing on numerous TV and radio shows for several decades, Carson was recognised for his charity work and was knighted into the order of St. Gregory, in Rome. The TV presenter Chris Tarrant paid tribute to Carson, saying "I think without exception he was the funniest man I've ever met in my life. What a wonderful sense of fun and mischief and laughter."