Eddie Large [Photo: Courtesy]

The Glasgow-born, Manchester-raised comedian who had been in hospital with heart failure, found huge fame alongside Syd Little in the 1970s and 80s. Millions of TV viewers watched the pair.

Large’s son, Ryan McGinnis, broke the news in a Facebook post, explaining that his father caught Covid-19 while in hospital.

He wrote: “It is with great sadness that mum and I need to announce that my dad passed away in the early hours of this morning.

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He had been suffering from heart failure and unfortunately, whilst in hospital, contracted the coronavirus, which his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight. Dad had fought bravely for so long.

Due to this horrible disease, we had been unable to visit him at the hospital but all of the family and close friends spoke to him every day.

“We are so proud of everything he achieved in his career with Syd and know that he was much loved by the millions that watched them each week.”

Large’s agent, Peter Mansfield, also mourned the comedian, whose real name was Edward McGinnis. “Straight man” Little, real name Cyril Mead, and Large began performing together in 1962, initially performing in pubs and clubs in the north-west of England.

The pair broke into the mainstream after appearing on the ITV talent show Opportunity Knocks, later landing their own ITV series, The Little and Large Tellyshow, in 1976. After moving to the BBC in 1978, The Little and Large Show aired over 13 years to huge audiences.

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The duo continued to appear in pantomimes throughout the 90s, but eventually retired in 2001 owing to Large’s heart problems, which he had suffered with since 1991. He underwent a heart transplant in 2002.