Phil Butler: comedian and panto star has died at age 51 - who was he, and what was his death caused by?

Butler not only performed comedy, but also had an impressive arsenal of stage magic tricks up his sleeve

(Photo: ChrisDavisMgt/Twitter)(Photo: ChrisDavisMgt/Twitter)
(Photo: ChrisDavisMgt/Twitter)

Comedian and magician Phil Butler has died at the age of 51, it has been announced.

A Tweet from Butler’s agents Chris Davis Management said: "It is with huge sadness we have to announce the passing of our friend and client PHIL BUTLER. Our thoughts are with his friends & family. The world is a poorer place without him."

But who was Butler, and what was he known for?

Here is everything you need to know.

Who was Phil Butler?

Butler was an experienced variety performer who not only performed comedy, but also had an impressive arsenal of stage magic tricks.

He also acted, playing the comic lead in many winter pantomimes - he was due to appear in Robin Hood at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal this year.

Before performing on the comedy circuit, Butler honed his craft in holiday parks, end of the pier shows, cruise ships, and summer-season variety shows.

He also hosted The Green Room podcast, talking to fellow comedians about their careers, and is acknowledged as the first comedian to perform for troops on the front line in Afghanistan, receiving the Operational Service Medal for his time.

Butler also wrote material for fellow performers, including America’s Got Talent winner Paul Zerdin.

Who has paid tribute?

Fellow comedians and performers have shared their thoughts and tributes to Butler online.

Paul Kerensa wrote: “I can’t believe that the wonderful Phil Butler is no longer with us. Always fizzing with energy + joy + comedy comedy comedy. We saw him in panto – my kids howled with laughter. At every stand-up gig, he stole the show. Way too young, one of the best. Thanks for the laughs, Phil.”

Benidorm star Asa Eliott said: “Utterly devastated at the news Phil Butler has passed away. One of the funniest people I’ve ever had the privilege of calling my friend.”

Impressionist and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Danny Posthill added: “So shocked and saddened at the death of Phil Butler. A great comedian who was such a laugh to be around. Sleep well, my friend.”

Lloyd John Hollett wrote: “Beyond heartbreaking and so dreadfully sad. There are no words. My thoughts are with Phil’s family and friends at this awful time.”

How did he die?

Though news of his death was made public on 18 October, Butler died a few weeks previously on 30 September 2021.

The exact cause of his death has not yet been made known, but it has been reported that Butler died peacefully in his sleep.

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