Monty Python star Terry Jones dies aged 77 after dementia battle

22 January 2020, 12:46 | Updated: 22 January 2020, 13:51

Terry Jones died after a battle with dementia
Terry Jones died after a battle with dementia. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Monty Python star Terry Jones has died at the age of 77 following a battle with dementia.

The actor and comedian directed some of the comedy troupe's most-loved works, including Life Of Brian.

He appeared in TV series Monty Python's Flying Circus in a variety of characters, and was known for his performances in drag.

In 2016 it was announced that Jones had been diagnosed with dementia.

A statement from the family of Monty Python star Terry Jones said: "We are deeply saddened to have to announce the passing of beloved husband and father, Terry Jones.

"Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.

Terry Jones, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Eddie Izzard dressed as Gumbies for a sketch for 'Python Night' in 1999
Terry Jones, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Eddie Izzard dressed as Gumbies for a sketch for 'Python Night' in 1999. Picture: PA

"Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in North London.

"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.

Monty Python stars Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, John Cleese and Michael Palin pictured together in 1999
Monty Python stars Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, John Cleese and Michael Palin pictured together in 1999. Picture: PA

"We, his wife Anna, children Bill, Sally, Siri and extended family would like to thank Terry's wonderful medical professionals and carers for making the past few years not only bearable but often joyful.

"We hope that this disease will one day be eradicated entirely. 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."

"Terence Graham Parry Jones, born 1 February 1942 died 21 January 2020."

His friend and Monty Python co-star Michael Palin said he was lucky to have been able to share "so much of my life with him."

"Terry was one of my closest, most valued friends. He was kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full," he added.

"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."

Stephen Fry also paid tribute to the comedian on Twitter: "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."

The Welsh-born star suffered from primary progressive aphasia, which affects the ability to communicate.

Jones directed Monty Python And The Holy Grail in 1975 with Terry Gilliam.

The group's Life Of Brian film in 1979, about a hapless man mistaken for Jesus, was attacked as blasphemous at the time but has since been voted the funniest classic comedy in a poll compiled by the magazine Total Film.

On-screen, his much-loved characters included Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson, Cardinal Biggles of the Spanish Inquisition and Mr Creosote, the monstrously obese restaurant patron.

Jones also directed The Meaning Of Life in 1983, the Pythons' last film together.

His other credits include The Wind In The Willows in 1996, with performances from Eric Idle, Michael Palin, and John Cleese, 2015 comedy Absolutely Anything and Personal Services (1987).

He took part in a reunion of remaining Monty Python members in 2014 - Graham Chapman had died of cancer in 1989.

He had two children with Alison Telfer, who he married in 1970, and became a father again, at the age of 67, with second wife Anna Soderstrom.

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