British broadcaster Denise Robertson has died, aged 83.
Denise, who is best known as an agony aunt on Britain's This Morning TV show, passed away on Thursday (31Mar16) after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
A statement on the show's Twitter page read, "Such sad news- our friend and colleague Denise Robertson has lost her short but determined battle against cancer."
Host Ruth Langsford was joined by husband and co-presenter Eamonn Holmes, who has been off on sick leave since having a double hip replacement operation, for "moral support" as they read out a statement from Denise's family.
The statement read: "It is with the deepest possible sorrow that we announce the passing of a very great lady. Our dearest Denise Robertson lost her short battle with cancer (yesterday) at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. We send our gratitude to the many thousands of people who have sent message of love, support and prayers during these difficult weeks, these sustained and delighted her immeasurably.
"The world has lost an extraordinary women. We know that her ITV family, the This Morning viewers and the incalculable numbers of people she has helped and causes she has championed during her 83 years, will be grieving with us at this intensely painful time."
Struggling to hold back her tears, Ruth offered her condolences to Denise's family, before asking some other members of the This Morning presenting team for their memories of the agony aunt.
Regular This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby is currently on her holidays but joined the show via the phone to express her sadness over Denise's passing.
"Just hearing you guys talk about it now, it just feels so much more real," she said. "She was a huge part of the family. When I was joined she welcomed me with open arms. Whatever she did on screen was the tip of the iceberg really because she continued to help people and did so much behind the scenes that nobody saw. And it's just so, so sad."
Denise revealed her cancer battle in February (16) to explain her absence from the show by issuing a statement which was read out by Ruth on air.
And Holly added: "As soon as we heard the news, you hope and you wish that she's going to be alright but in the back of your mind you're very worried and very scared. It never ever prepares you for a loss like this."
Holly's co-presenter Phillip Schofield, also on his Easter break, joined the show via FaceTime, telling Ruth and Eamonn: "This is absolutely heartbreaking. I think that as Holly said, we were expecting it, we thought it was going to happen when she was diagnosed and she was so terribly poorly. Obviously everyone wanted her to get better but I think, deep down, we all knew she wasn't going to make it back."
Denise had worked on the show since 1988 and This Morning executives are planning a special tribute programme. She briefly had her own agony aunt show Dear Denise in 2000, and was made an Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2006 for her services to broadcasting and charity.
She is survived by her husband Bryan Thubron, and her only son Mark Alexander Robertson.
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