Gogglebox star Pete McGarry has died aged 71, it has been announced.
Channel 4, which broadcasts the show, and production company Studio Lambert confirmed McGarry’s death followed on from a battle with a short illness.
Tributes have been paid to McGarry by Top Gear host Paddy McGuinness who described his death as “such a shame”.
He wrote in a tweet: “Such a shame, one of the OG’s. RIP.”
‘OG’ stands for original gangsta but in this context it’s likely to mean an original member of the Gogglebox cast.
Who was the Googlebox star?
McGarry, along with wife Linda and her son, George Gilbey, originally joined the Channel 4 programme for its second series in 2013.
The Channel 4 show sees families and friends taking on the role of ‘armchair critics’ up and down the UK.
Since it aired in 2013, many of its contributors have gone on to become stars in their own right, including successful podcast host Scarlett Moffatt and presenter Reverend Kate Bottley.
The show has gone on to win a Bafta for its cast members watching and reacting to television programmes.
It has since inspired celebrity spin-offs including Radio 1 host Grimmy, presenter Rylan Clark and boxer Chris Eubank take part reviewing programmes from that week.
During their time on Gogglebox, Clacton couple Pete and Linda were foster carers.
Since 2000, the pair have fostered over 100 children and said it enhanced their lives so much.
Linda told the Daily Star in 2016: "I always say all you need to be a foster parent is a spare room, a sense of humour and a good heart.
"I’ve just brought them up as my own.
“On Mother’s Day I get so many phone calls. They don’t forget you. A lot still regard me and Pete as their parents."
How long was he on Gogglebox?
Pete and Linda returned to Gogglebox for the seventh series in 2016 and have continued to appear as series regulars.
A statement issued on behalf of the family said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that Gogglebox star Pete McGarry passed away at the age of 71 this weekend with his family by his side after a short illness.”
The statement continued: “Pete will be dearly missed by the entire Gogglebox family, cast and crew.
“Our thoughts are with Linda, their children and grandchildren.
“Since 2000, Pete and Linda have fostered over 100 children and he is a beloved father, husband and grandfather. The family have asked for privacy at this sad time.”
The statement added that McGarry’s death was not related to Covid.
McGarry’s death follows the death of Gogglebox cast members, June Bernicoff in 2020 and her husband Leon Bernicoff in 2017.