COMEDIAN and actor Rik Mayall died this morning, a spokesman for Brunskill Management has said.
The star, who shot to fame playing Rick in The Young Ones, will be fondly remembered for his appearances in shows including Blackadder, Bottom and The New Statesman.
The 56-year-old was left seriously ill after a quad bike accident in 1998 which left him in a coma for several days, but was working until recently.
Speaking about the accident last year, Mayall said doctors had kept him alive on a life-support machine for five days and were about to turn it off when he began to show signs of life.
He used to mark the occasion by exchanging presents with his wife and children and said the near-death experience changed his life.
He said: “The main difference between now and before my accident is I’m just very glad to be alive.
“Other people get moody in their forties and fifties - men get the male menopause. I missed the whole thing. I was just really happy.”
Mayall started on stage in a duo, The Dangerous Brothers, with long-time collaborator Adrian Edmondson after they met at Manchester University
The pair, who appeared together in The Young Ones, reprised their original act in the anarchic comedy Bottom.