Barry Chuckle had bone cancer that had spread to his lungs.

The Chuckle Brothers

The Chuckle Brothers

The 73-year-old comic - whose real name was Barry Elliott - passed away "peacefully" at his home last week after secretly battling the illness and his eldest brother Jimmy Patton has revealed "all the family are really hurting right now."

Speaking to The Sun Online, Jimmy said: "We are all devastated. Barry had bone cancer which had spread to his lungs. He was ill for years, but kept it hidden. We knew about it, but kept it quiet, and all the family are really hurting right now.

"Barry loved being on stage, he loved being on TV - he loved people in general. Barry in real life was just like the character he played on the TV and in theatres."

Jimmy has admitted his brother Paul - who has performed as a double act with Barry on television since the 60s - has taken his sibling's death "really hard".

Jimmy said: "Paul was closest to Barry and he is devastated, we all are - It's sad."

Barry's death has hit him so hard that Paul asked his wife Sue to respond to sympathetic fans on Twitter over the weekend because he was too upset.

Paul's wife Sue wrote: "Paul has asked me to send a message to thank EVERYONE for your lovely messages this morning, he is absolutely devastated so unable to respond himself but your messages really do help and he knows Barry would so happy to know how much he was loved, Sue X (sic)."

Paul and Barry - who returned to TV this year with Channel 5 series 'Chuckle Time' - began their careers as The Chuckles and won TV talent show 'Opportunity Knocks' in 1967, going on to appear on 'New Faces' in 1974.

Their most famous show, 'ChuckleVision', ran for 21 series over 22 years until December 2009.

They starred in an episode of 'Benidorm' earlier this year and Barry also appeared in 'Still Open All Hours'.