Val Doonican: Irish Singer And TV Star Dead At 88

Val Doonican has died at the age of 88, with his daughter saying his “batteries ran out.”

The Irish singer and entertainer, born Michael Valentine Doonican, was loved by his fans for his string of hit records and also for his long-running television show, The Val Doonican Show, which ran on the BBC from 1965 to 1986 and featured singing performances by other artists. Some of his most popular songs were: “Walk Tall,” “What Would I Be,” “If The Whole World Stopped Loving,” and “Morning.” He also sang the theme tune for the film Ring of Bright Water.

According to his family, Val Doonican was not suffering from any long-term illnesses and died “peacefully” in his home in Buckinghamshire on Wednesday night.

“He leaves behind his wife, Lynn, daughters Sarah and Fiona and grandchildren Bethany and Scott. He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather and will be greatly missed by family, friends and his many fans,” his family said in a statement.

His daughter Sarah told The Guardian, “Until 87, he was as fit as a flea. It was just old age, I’m afraid – the batteries ran out.”

“I don’t think there’s a person in the world that would have a bad thing to say about him,” his daughter added, noting that her father and mother had been married for 54 years. “He was every bit as lovely as he appeared on the television. There was no [nasty] side to him at all. He was a delightful, delightful man.”

“It is very sad. He was always a lovely man to work with,” Sir Bruce Forsyth said, paying tribute to Doonican, according to the Telegraph. “He had the top television show on the BBC. He had the warmth, the voice and the sweaters. He was one of the warmest personalities I think we have ever had. He was a very warm person, and number one in his field. He brought a lovely warmth with his personality and was a very popular man.”

Adrian Walsh, an Irish comedian who opened for Doonican, said on Twitter: “Spent four years as opening act for Val Doonican, he was one of the greats on and off stage. Thank you for your friendship. Rest in peace Sir.”

“RIP Val Doonican,” Northern Irish Catchphrase presenter Roy Walker said. “You were a joy to work with. A real ‘STAR’. Love you man. Roy.”

After 60 years in the entertainment industry, Val made the decision to finally retire in 2009. He is survived by his wife Lynn, daughters Sarah and Fiona, and grandchildren Bethany and Scott.

[Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images]