British comic Sean Lock, hailed by fellow funny man Ricky Gervais as “one of the most influential comedians of a generation,” has died after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 58.
The “8 Out of 10 Cats” star passed away at home surrounded by his family, Lock’s agent confirmed to the Guardian.
“Sean was one of Britain’s finest comedians, his boundless creativity, lightning wit and the absurdist brilliance of his work marked him out as a unique voice in British comedy,” his management team, Off the Kerb Productions, said in a statement. “Sean was also a cherished husband and father to three children. Sean will be sorely missed by all that knew him.”
Born in Woking, Surrey, Lock dropped out of school in the early 1980s and began working in construction. He later developed skin cancer, which he blamed on overexposure to the sun, Variety reported. However, he fully recovered and then focused on launching his career in comedy.
The UK television personality — known for his deadpan absurdist style — first garnered major small screen success in 2005 with his 18-season run as a team captain on Jimmy Carr’s Channel 4 comedy panel show “8 Out of 10 Cats,” and its spin-off, “8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.
Lock also wrote and starred in the 1990s cult hit BBC sitcom “15 Storeys High,” which was based on his previous BBC Radio 4 show “15 Minutes of Misery,” and co-hosted “The Big Fat Quiz of the Year” opposite future “Late Late Show” host James Corden.
Lock also toured extensively his improv show “Lockipedia,” in which he worked in the moment off of topics suggested by his audiences. He often described the show as a game of “audience battleships,” as he would call out a seat number and ask its occupant to give him a subject to riff on.
Britain’s bad boy of comedy, Gervais, led the celebrity homages with an uncharacteristically emotional post on Twitter:
“Such sad news. RIP the great Sean Lock,” Gervais, 60, wrote. “[He was] one of the funniest, most influential comedians of a generation. A lovely man.”
Controversial TV presenter also chimed in by way of quoting one of Lock’s most famous quips: “‘If I could have my ashes spread anywhere I wanted, I’d have them spread in Piers Morgan’s eyes.’ RIP Sean Lock.”
Lock is survived by his wife, Anoushka Nara Giltsoff, and their two daughters and son.
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