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Monty Python's Terry Jones dies; remembered for 'wonderful talent'

British comedy troupe Monty Python members, left to right,  Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones posing for a photograph during a media event in London in 2014. Jones' death at age 77 was announced on Wednesday. Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/EPA
British comedy troupe Monty Python members, left to right,  Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones posing for a photograph during a media event in London in 2014. Jones' death at age 77 was announced on Wednesday. Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/EPA

Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Welsh comedy legend Terry Jones has died following a long battle with dementia, his family said Wednesday. He was 77.

"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 humored battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD," his survivors said in a statement to the BBC.

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"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 humor has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades."

Metro, which also confirmed Jones' death, said he was diagnosed frontotemporal dementia in 2015.

His friend and fellow Monty Python comedy troupe member Michael Palin said in November that Jones' mental and verbal abilities had dramatically deteriorated.

Palin predicted "it's a matter of time" before his long-time friend would succumb to his illness.

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The Oxford University graduate was known for creating -- along with Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and the late Graham Chapman -- Monty Python, which counts among its classics the sketch-comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus and the comedy films Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Monty Python's The Meaning of Life and Monty Python's Life of Brian.

Jones also wrote the 1986 fantasy film, Labyrinth. and hosted the history-themed TV shows, including Terry Jones' Medieval Lives. Terry Jones' Barbarians and Terry Jones' Great Map Mystery in the 2000s.

"Just heard about Terry J. It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away... Of his many achievements, for me the greatest gift he gave us all was his direction of 'Life of Brian'. Perfection Two down, four to go," Cleese wrote on Twitter.

"Farewell, Terry Jones. The great foot has come down to stamp on you. My god what pleasure you gave, what untrammelled joy and delight. What a wonderful talent, heart and mind," writer and comedian Stephen Fry tweeted.

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"A very fond farewell to Terry Jones: Not only 1/6 of the Pythons, Mr Creosote, Arthur Two Sheds Jackson, Dino Vercotti, Mandy Cohen, Prince Herbert, Cardinal Biggles & the Nude Organist, but also esteemed director of all time comedy classic; 'Life Of Brian'. He will be missed," filmmaker Edgar Wright wrote.

"We're saddened to hear of the passing of Terry Jones. Here he is receiving the Special Award For Outstanding Contribution to Film & Television from friend and fellow Python Michael Palin, at the 2016 @BAFTACymru Awards," said a post on the official BAFTA Twitter feed.

Notable deaths of 2020

Richard Thornburgh
Richard "Dick" Thornburgh, former attorney general of the United States and former governor of Pennsylvania, takes a seat at the witness hearing after U.S. Chief Justice nominee Judge John Roberts testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 2005. Thornburgh died on December 31 at age 88. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

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