Terry Jones, star of the Monty Python comedy team, has died at the age of 77 years, after a long battle with dementia. He died at at his home in north London, his family said in a statement. The Welsh actor, writer, comedian, screenwriter, film director and historian was well known for his performances in drag in Monty Python.

In 2015 Jones was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, a form of frontotemporal dementia that impairs the ability to speak and communicate. An announcement about Jones' deteriorating health was made a year later in 2016, when it became impossible for the actor to even speak a few words.

Family describes Jones as funny and truly loving man

In the statement, the comedian's family said he died on the evening of January 21, 2020. His wife, Anna Soderstrom was by his side. During his last days, Jones was frequently visited by his children, Bill, Sally, and Siri, his extended family, and many close friends.

Terry Jones
PA

"We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades. His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programmes, poems and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath."

The family members extended their gratitude to the medical team and those who took care of the actor during his battle with the illness. Hoping that the disease will be eradicated entirely, the family members requested privacy during the sensitive time. "We ask that our privacy be respected at this sensitive time and give thanks that we lived in the presence of an extraordinarily talented, playful and happy man living a truly authentic life, in his words 'Lovingly frosted with glucose'," read the statement.

Tributes pour in

Jones, who co-directed Monty Python and The Holy Grail with Terry Gilliam in 1975, went on to independently direct Life of Brian and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. As soon as the news of his death broke, tributes started pouring in.

Jones' closest friend, Sir Michael Palin, in his tribute, described Jones as kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full. "He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation, he was the complete Renaissance comedian - writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children's author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have. I feel very fortunate to have shared so much of my life with him and my heart goes out to Anna, Alison and all his family," he added.

John Cleese, the actor's Monty Python co-star, wrote: "It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away... Two down, four to go."

"News that arrives like a punch to the gut. Thanks for making us laugh so much, Terry," tweeted David Schneider.

"Farewell, Terry Jones. The great foot has come down to stamp on you. My god what pleasure you gave, what untrammelled joy and delight. What a wonderful talent, heart and mind," Stephen Fry wrote in his condolence tweet.

"Just a very, very, very funny man. And a kind, thoughtful, interesting, and curious one too. What a great body of work he has left though," said Katy Brand.