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Falcon death: Gladiators star Bernadette Hunt dies aged 59

Gladiators star Bernadette Hunt has died at age 59, it has been announced.

Hunt took on the persona of Falcon in the hit Nineties series, which saw everyday contestants battling against a “Gladiator” in a series of physical challenges, in front of an arena audience.

Falcon first appeared on the programme in season two in 1993, and was a regular cast member until her departure in 1999.

In a Facebook post from Hunt’s sister’s partner, Rick Jango, Hunt was revealed to have died after living with cancer for several years.

“It is with great sadness that I have to tell you of my partner's younger sister, Bernadette Hunt,” the post begins.

“Most people will remember her as ‘Falcon’ from the hit TV Show Gladiators.

“I had the privilege to be in her company a few times and I have to say she was one of the most loveliest people I have ever met.”

The announcement continues with a tribute to her friendly and positive demeanour.

“She never had a bad word to say about anyone, indeed she was always known as the nicest ‘Gladiator’, always stopping to speak and sign autographs for anyone.

“She had been battling cancer for a number of years until sadly she lost her fight. RIP Bernie.”

Falcon on Gladiators (ITV/Shutterstock)
Falcon on Gladiators (ITV/Shutterstock)

In response to the post, fans have shared their condolences as well of memories of Hunt in her local Basingstoke community.

“Sorry to hear Bernie’s passed on, was always lovely when I saw her at the gym,” reads one comment.

Another person shared her sadness about the news and added: “Bernie was just the loveliest person. So warm and friendly.”

A third offered: “Always took the time to stop and chat in the gym. She got the whole family tickets for Gladiators too.”

Gladiators will return to screens later this year on BBC One. In 2022, original cast members Lightning and Amazon shared their concerns about modern safety procedures having an adverse effect on the show.