Margaret Lake, the British astrologer known as Mystic Meg, has died aged 80.
She became a household name in 1994 when she hosted a slot on the National Lottery draw where she looked into a crystal ball to predict a future winner.
Lake pioneered phone-in horoscopes, launching a dedicated phone line in 1989 that broke BT records. She had a regular column in the Sun and the now-defunct News of the World.
She died on Thursday morning having been admitted to hospital with flu last month.
Her agent, Dave Shapland, said: “Without any question, she was Britain’s most famous astrologer by a million miles. Nobody came close to Meg in that respect. She was followed by millions in this country and also around the world.
“She even became part of the English language – if a politician, somebody from showbiz or ordinary people in the street are asked a tricky question they will say: ‘Who do you think I am, Mystic Meg?’”
The Sun editor, Victoria Newton, said: “This is devastating news. We have lost an icon. Our brilliant and incomparable Meg was synonymous with the Sun – she was a total legend. We loved her and so did our readers. For more than two decades Mystic Meg has been a must-read column and cemented her as Britain’s most famous astrologer.”
Newton added: “One of my favourite memories of Meg is when all the Spice Girls came to the office, just as they were riding high at No 1. We planned a tour for them but all they wanted to do was meet Mystic Meg! You know you’re a true icon when the only person Victoria Beckham is interested in is you.”
Lake, who was taught astrology by her grandmother, was born on 27 July 1942 in Accrington, Lancashire, making her star sign Leo.
She lived in a three-bedroom flat in Notting Hill, west London, which she shared with seven cats. She died in St Mary’s hospital in Paddington at 3.45am on Thursday morning.
The broadcaster and former newspaper editor Piers Morgan said: “Mystic Meg was Britain’s most famous astrologer and a fascinatingly mysterious lady who loved her work with a passion but was rarely seen or heard in public.
“I was her editor at the News of the World for several years and she was extraordinarily professional in everything she did. A master of her very popular craft.”