The former Countdown host died on Saturday (14 November) after a fall at his home.
“It is with great sorrow that I confirm that Des O'Connor passed away," his agent announced in a statement.
“He had been admitted to hospital just over a week ago, following a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire. He was recovering well and had been in great spirits, visited by his family – in accordance with hospital lockdown regulations – and looking forward to going home.”
The agent added that the TV star’s condition “suddenly deteriorated and he drifted peacefully away in his sleep”.
Tributes have been flooding in for the comedian, singer and TV host, with his Countdown co-star Vorderman tweeting: “RIP Des O'Connor. So sad this morning to hear that darling Des has passed away.
"He was the host of Countdown for a couple of years and was a joy to work with. Lively, funny, he ALWAYS wanted to entertain people. I will remember him most tho for his brilliant chat shows...”
She added: “In the days when families would gather round the telly to watch , Des O'Connor was the King. We'd cry laughing when Freddie Starr would pretend to be behaving and things would go badly wrong. Des will surely be entertaining the angels now. Rest In Peace & Laughter my friend.”
The pair starred on the game show together for two years from 2007.
Piers Morgan also remembered the star, writing: “RIP Des O’Connor, 88. A wondrously talented, warm, funny, charming man. Truly one of the nicest people in showbiz. What very sad news. Thanks for all the fun, Des.”
Gary Lineker added: “Saddened to hear that Des O’Connor has passed away. Truly lovely man and one of the great old school entertainers. #RIPDes.”
RIP Des O’ Connor. It’s worth remembering how brilliant he is at his own expense in these sketches: https://t.co/NZKOAgCH7L
— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) November 15, 2020
Such sad news. Des O’Connor was never afraid to laugh at himself and that was part of his charm. Whether it was Eric Morecambe ridiculing him, or Freddie Starr smashing his studio set up, Des always laughed along. Another part of my childhood telly viewing gone. RIP Des O’Connor pic.twitter.com/ZzLarNiTm6
— Paddy McGuinness (@PaddyMcGuinness) November 15, 2020
Very sad news to hear Des O’Connor has died, to be on his show in 2012 was a highlight after watching him throughout my childhood. An icon on TV, a gentleman and one of the best! Rest in peace Des x pic.twitter.com/aMdq9hTf77
— Olly Murs (@ollymurs) November 15, 2020
Now Des O'Connor. :-( Never took himself too seriously, which I always liked. That generation of variety stars are slowly slipping away.
— Stephen McGann (@StephenMcGann) November 15, 2020
I once asked a retiring colleague who they had enjoyed working with the most over all their years in TV and they said Des O’Connor without hesitation. We loved watching him as a family growing up. Proper entertainer. My thoughts are with his family this morning. pic.twitter.com/19bcLVFm8c
— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) November 15, 2020
RIP Des O’Connor. A lovely man...🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/18QItazenv
— Danny John-Jules🇩🇲 (@DannyJohnJules) November 15, 2020
An absolute Legend...
R.I.P. Des O’Connor 🖤 pic.twitter.com/OEEgtYZOa0
— Emma Barton (@EmmaBarton) November 15, 2020
O’Connor is survived by his wife Jodie, their son Adam as well as his four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina.