Monty Python star Terry Jones has died, aged 77

22 January 2020, 13:04 | Updated: 22 January 2020, 13:54

Terry Jones
Terry Jones. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Monty Python star Terry Jones has died at the age of 77, his agent has confirmed.

His family said in a statement: "We are deeply saddened to have to announce the passing of beloved husband and father, Terry Jones.

"Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia.

"Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in north London.

"We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades.

Monty Python in 1969
Monty Python in 1969. Picture: Getty

"His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programmes, poems and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath.

"We, his wife Anna, children Bill, Sally, Siri and extended family would like to thank Terry's wonderful medical professionals and carers for making the past few years not only bearable but often joyful.

"We hope that this disease will one day be eradicated entirely. We ask that our privacy be respected at this sensitive time and give thanks that we lived in the presence of an extraordinarily talented, playful and happy man living a truly authentic life, in his words 'Lovingly frosted with glucose.'"

Terry Jones was best known for his work as part of the famous comedy troupe Monty Python, alongside John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Graham Chapman.

He is the second Python star to pass away, following Graham Chapman's death in 1989.

In 2015, Jones was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia – an uncommon form of dementia which normally starts at a younger age.

His co-star and friend Michael Palin remained close with him throughout his illness, but revealed that Jones did no longer recognise him and was barely able to speak during visits.

Palin paid tribute by saying: "Terry was one of my closest, most valued friends. He was kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full.

"He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation, he was the complete Renaissance comedian - writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children's author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have."

Michael Palin and Terry Jones in 2016
Michael Palin and Terry Jones in 2016. Picture: Getty

Terry Jones graduated from Oxford, having met Palin at the university. After writing and performing for various programmes including Do Not Adjust Your Set and The Frost Report, he co-created Monty legendary sketch show Monty Python's Flying Circus with the rest of the famous group.

He was mainly known for being one of the creative forces behind the show's surreal format, and he later made his directorial debut in their film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, alongside Gilliam. He also directed Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.

He also co-created and co-wrote Ripping Yarns with Palin, wrote the early draft of Jim Henson's Labyrinth, wrote several books and presented various TV programmes over the years.