BGT deaths: Paying tribute to the Britain’s Got Talent stars we’ve loved and lost

16 Apr 2023, 18:41
16 Apr 2023, 11:19

Britain's Got Talent, Deaths

Britain’s Got Talent showcases some of the nation’s finest talent every year but some the previous incredible contestants have sadly died over the years. Here’s a tribute to some of the most memorable BGT contestants who are no longer with us.

David J Watson appeared on Britain’s Got Talent for a record total of 12 times (Credit: ITV)

David J Watson

Magician David J Watson appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in his iconic gold jacket and Union J trousers a whopping 12 times.

He first appeared on the show in 2008 as an impressionist where he cracked viewers up with his impersonations of Tony Blair, William Hague and David Blunkett. But he didn’t make it through to the second round.

David returned two years later and then appeared on every single series up until season 14 in 2020. But before the magician could return to the show for the 13th time, David sadly died at the age of 62 in 2021.

David Walliams paid tribute to the contestant on This Morning saying: “Today, we actually lost a guy called David J Watson. He was a contestant who came back year in year out and he auditioned for the show over 10 times.”

He then continued: “Unfortunately, he passed away, but he was a wonderful eccentric and characters like him are really, I think, the lifeblood of Britain’s Got Talent.”

The Pensionalities star Henry Hall died in 2019 (Credit: ITV)

BGT deaths: Henry Hall

OAP Henry Hall placed fifth in the competition back in 2017 alongside his friend Malcom Skyes with their singing act The Pensionalities.

The pair sang to Frank Sinatra’s When You’re Smiling for their final appearance on the show. But two years later in 2019, Henry died at the age of 86.

His obituary read: “In both life and death, Henry definitely did it ‘his way!’ He died peacefully at home, as he wished, with his family. He lived an extraordinary life and was known to a great many people as H from Cusworth’s Motorcycles and latterly half of The Pensionalities from Britain’s Got Talent.”

It also added: “He was loved by many, forgotten by none and will be greatly missed by all.”

Singer Simone Kerr was tragically murdered by her partner in 2019 (Credit: YouTube)

BGT deaths: Simone Kerr

Simone Kerr showcased her incredible singing skills when she sang with the B Positive Choir on BGT back in 2018. The nurse had performed in the final after her young son, Kavele, died from complications of sickle cell disease.

But unfortunately in 2019, Simone was tragically murdered at the age of 31 by her boyfriend, Desmond Sylva.

Desmond was said to have called the police on himself following his attack. He told them: “Can I have police please? I’ve just committed a murder. I’m ex-Army and I’ve got lots of mental health issues.”

Britain’s Got Talent star Jack Saunders took his own life in 2019 (Credit: YouTube)

Jack Saunders

Jack Saunders was a member of the dance troupe Green Force Five. In 2019, the group had made it through to live semi-finals on BGT after impressing the judges.

However, the group pulled out of their appearance after it was confirmed that Jack Saunders had taken his own life.

Speaking about her son, Jack’s mum said: “We don’t know why he did it, he didn’t leave a note. He did not have depression. People can’t believe Jack is gone. We are the same. I want people to know that this can happen to any family.”

Britain’s Got Talent wasn’t Jack’s first time on TV as he had also appeared on The X Factor with Lauren Platt in 2014 and Got to Dance in 2012 where he reached the finals as part of Unity UK. Jack was also the youngest paid dancer to perform at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony when he was just 2018. RIP, Jack.

The Granny rapper sadly died after suffering from a heart attack and kidney failure (Credit: ITV)

BGT deaths: Norma Clarke

Norma Clarke aka ‘Granny rapper’ performed on the show in 2007. The star managed to impress the judges after singing Sam the Rapper, which she wrote herself. However, she was eliminated from the competition shortly after making it through to boot camp.

She was just an incredible mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Norma sadly died in 2019 from a heart attack and kidney failure following a long illness. Speaking about her mother’s death, Norma’s daughter Amanda claimed that the rapper wanted to win the show for a new community centre for young people.

Amanda said: “She was just an incredible mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was such a character and many people remembered her for her appearance as a rapper on Britain’s Got Talent.”

She also said: “She entered as she wanted to win the £100,000 prize money to pay for a new community centre for young people on her estate. That’s how she was always thinking of others.”

Diversity member Robert Anker died in a car crash in Canada (Credit: ITV)

BGT deaths: Robert Anker

Robert Anker sadly died after he was involved in a car crash in Canada in 2017. The 27-year-old was a member of the dance group Diversity who won the show back in 2009.

After his death, his cousin Rochelle Hanson wrote: “On 27th July 2017, Robert Anker aged 27 was involved in a fatal car accident in Canada and sadly passed away at the scene.”

She then went on to say: “We are raising funds for his family to be able to cover the costs for their trip to go and arrange his funeral in Canada. We would love to ensure that his family don’t worry or stress about money at this time.”

Britain’s Got Talent star Audrey Leybourne died at the age of 95 (Credit: ITV)

BGT deaths: Audrey Leybourne

Audrey Leybourne auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent back in 2018. She impressed the judges with her rendition of I Wanna Be Loved By You and her cheeky personality won over the hearts of the nation.

When Amanda asked Audrey if she was married, she iconically replied: “No, I was in love many, many times…22 gentlemen.”

Following her audition, Audrey went on to star in a York pantomime and appeared in two episodes of Carters Get Rich.

Audrey sadly died at the age of 95 in December last year. Paying tribute to Audrey, her local vicar Rev Simon Grigg hailed that she was ‘much loved’ by the community.

He said: “It is with deep sadness that we report the death of our much loved friend Audrey Leybourne. Who died early on Thursday morning.”

He also added: “She was a remarkable person. A real ‘trouper’ of an actress (starting her career with Sir Donald Wolfit, no less) and a much loved member of St. Paul’s.”

Read more: Ant and Dec admit they’re to blame for Bruno Tonioli’s BGT ‘mistakes’

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