20 July 2013 6:20 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Griff Rhys Jones talks about his shock at the news of his former comedy partner's death from a heart attack at home

Mel Smith, the British comedian, writer, actor, producer and film director, known for his long and popular television partnership with Griff Rhys Jones, died on Friday at the age of 60. He suffered a heart attack at his London home.

Smith's deadpan style, along with his lugubrious manner and large build, quickly established him as one of the country's favourite television performers in the early 1980s.

Jones, his friend for 35 years, said he had lost "a gentleman and a scholar, a gambler and a wit" and that he was in a state of shock. "I still can't believe this has happened. To everybody who ever met him, Mel was a force for life. He had a relish for it that seemed utterly inexhaustible.

"He inspired love and utter loyalty »

- Vanessa Thorpe

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