It was sadly announced last night [23 December] that Gogglebox favourite Leon Bernicoff had passed away at the age of 83 following a short illness, with the news immediately being met with an outpouring of tributes across social media.
Now Leon’s wife, 78-year-old June, has broken her silence – thanking fans for their well-wishes.
Taking to her and Leon’s joint Twitter account, June wrote: “Thank you folks for all [of] your wonderful messages. Leon would have loved reading them & hearing how much he was loved. Goodnight & God Bless!”
The much-loved couple have appeared in Channel 4’s BAFTA-winning reality show since the very first season in 2013, with Channel 4 and production company Studio Lambert being the ones to announce Leon’s passing in a heartfelt statement.
They wrote: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sad news that after a short illness Gogglebox’s Leon Bernicoff passed away in hospital earlier today.
“Leon and his wife June were the first members of the public to be cast for Gogglebox back in early 2013, and they soon grew to become much-loved voices during the course of the show’s 10 series to date.
“Leon’s unique personality and sharp wit endeared him to fans of the show, as he contributed fully to Gogglebox’s reputation as a programme full of warm humour and unvarnished opinion.
“To those of us that knew him personally, Leon was a man of unwavering principles who exerted a distinct paternal presence both on and off screen. He will be dearly missed by the entire Gogglebox family; cast and crew.”
Fellow Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt lead the online tributes to Leon, expressing her grief shortly after the news broke as she wrote: “Words can’t explain what you meant to so many people.
“From your words of encouragement to me to the little DMs. Leon you were loved by so many. Sending my love to you and all of your family.”
Leon and June first met in 1955, marrying five years later and having two daughters, Julie and Helen, together.
Leon previously told The Guardian: “I fell in love with her immediately.
“My first thoughts about June were: ‘Oh she’s gorgeous.'”