Gogglebox star Pete McGarry has died aged 71.
A statement issued on behalf of the family said: ‘We are deeply saddened to announce that Gogglebox star Pete McGarry passed away at the age of 71 this weekend with his family by his side after a short illness.
‘Pete will be dearly missed by the entire Gogglebox family, cast and crew. Our thoughts are with Linda, their children and grandchildren.’
RIP: Gogglebox’s Pete McGarry has died aged 71: Beloved star passed away with his family by his side following a short illness
‘Since 2000, Pete and Linda have fostered over 100 children and he is a beloved father, husband and grandfather.
‘The family have asked for privacy at this sad time.’
The family statement added his death was not Covid-related.
Pete and Linda’s son George last shared a snap of his family on Instagram on May 6.
Following the news of Pete’s passing, many Gogglebox fans took to social media to pay tribute, including presenter Paddy McGuinness, who wrote: ‘Such a shame, one of the OG’s. RIP.’
Tragedy: The TV star’s passing was announced by his family in a statement on Monday, revealing he passed away over the weekend following a ‘short illness’
Touching: Pete and Linda’s son George last shared a snap of his family on Instagram on May 6
Rest in peace: Following the news of Pete’s passing, many Gogglebox fans took to social media to pay tribute, including presenter Paddy McGuinness
Another fan posted: ‘RIP Pete. Sending all my love and hugs to Linda, George and all family,’ while a third added: ‘RIP Pete and condolences to Linda and the family.’
One also tweeted: ‘One of my favourite blokes on Gogglebox. Quiet and unassuming. RIP Pete. Sad day.’
Pete and his wife had previously spoken about the children they had fostered over the years, saying it was something they ‘loved’ doing.
Beloved: The McGarry family, Lynne, Pete and son George, joined the show in series two back in 2013 before leaving in 2014. Linda and Pete later returned in 2016
In 2016 Linda told The Daily Star: ‘It’s enhanced our lives so much. It’s very rewarding. I’ve just loved doing it.
‘I always say all you need to be a foster parent is a spare room, a sense of humour and a good heart.
‘I’ve just brought them up as my own. On Mother’s Day I get so many phone calls. They don’t forget you. A lot still regard me and Pete as their parents.’
She added that her son George was just 15 when she and Pete began fostering saying:: ‘He’s always classed the other boys as his brothers. He never moaned. He always shared everything.
‘He’s got a good heart. He does drive me mad, but he’s a good boy.’
Amusing: The family were a part of some of the show’s funnier moments during its early years
The first child Linda and Pete fostered was then 11-year-old called Chris, who they went onto adopt.
She explained that Chris was now running a car site, and they were ‘so proud’ despite ‘going through hell’ with him.
Linda confirmed she had no plans to stop fostering, explaining: ‘We won’t stop. While we’re in our house it would be a waste not to because we’ve got room. It’s not a hard job, it’s our way of life. We’ll do it for as long as we can.’
She also urged others to try fostering before going straight into adoption, adding: ‘A lot of people find it scary – we were terrified. But I’ve learned how to deal with them.’
The McGarry family, Linda, Pete and son George, joined the show in series two back in 2013, and also appeared in series three.
However, the family left the show in 2014 when George entered the Celebrity Big Brother house.
Linda and Pete rejoined without George in 2016, and were much loved regulars on the show, with a slew of amusing moments.
Among them was a hilarious gaffe which saw George remove his shoe by throwing his foot into the air, only for it to land in the middle of Pete’s ‘chippy tea’.
George also previously revealed that his kind-hearted parents even paid off the drug debts of one of their foster children.
Touching: Pete and his wife had previously spoken about the children they had fostered over the years, saying it was something they ‘loved’ doing
Speaking on the A Bit Of A Stretch podcast, he revealed he asked his parents to help out one of his fellow prisoners, after he himself ended up behind bars when he was convicted of drink-driving.
He explained: ‘So he took out a debt with whoever was on that wing and they’ve hurt him that bad that his jaw was hanging off his face.
‘This is over a £20 drugs-debt so now I had to get involved. I couldn’t leave that. I said ‘Listen, stand back mate, I’ll have it in your account tomorrow.’
‘I phoned mum and said ‘Can you put twenty quid in his account so he can pay this geezer?’
Gogglebox sees group of friends and families from across the UK react to some of the TV highlights from that week, and has become a Channel 4 fixture since it began in 2013.
Kind: George also previously revealed that his kind-hearted parents even paid off the debts of someone he was in prison with (pictured in 2014)