Piers Morgan, 55, dwelled on some very sombre news about one of his ITV colleagues, who recently passed away. In his latest column, the Good Morning Britain host wrote a tribute to Ian Royce, who died of pneumonia and multiple organ failure at the age of just 51 at the beginning of the month.
He worked on numerous popular ITV shows, such as Piers’ Life Stories, Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor as the warm-up act and his passing came as a great shock to all those who knew him.
Piers dedicated a section of his Daily Mail column to his pal: “Very sadly, my brilliantly funny long-time Life Stories audience warm-up man, Ian ‘Roycey’ Royce, has died from pneumonia aged just 51,” he wrote.
“He was a legend in the TV industry who worked on many big shows, including Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor, and tributes poured in from grateful stars including Ant and Dec, Robbie Williams and Amanda Holden.”
He added a little anecdote of their friendship, recalling the humorous nickname Ian had for the GMB presenter.
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“Roycey always introduced me the same way: ‘Piers Morgan – big M, small organ!’”
His death was confirmed by his daughter Roxanne, who posted the sad news from his Twitter account.
“It is with our greatest regret that we have to tell you all that Ian has passed away today from severe pneumonia and multiple organ failure,” the statement read.
“He was in no pain and was surrounded by friends and family. He put up a good fight but is in a better place now.”
It comes after he aired his views on Hollywood casting only disabled actors to play disabled roles, and only gay performers to portray gay characters.
He believes it would be a “mistake”, but his opinion didn’t sit right with some.
In a recent interview, Piers said: “I don’t think the answer is to just say automatically that every disabled role goes to someone who’s disabled. And the same applies to gay roles.”
He referenced classic films such as Fourth of July, which features Tom Cruise as war veteran Ron Kovic, who was paralysed after an accident.
He also used Tom Hank’s portrayal of lawyer Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia as an example, where the Hollywood legend’s character has AIDS and keeps his homosexuality hidden from his employers.
“It just seems to me just pointless virtue signalling and it probably wouldn’t work because you’re then reliant on actors in most cases that people have never heard of launching a film like, you know, Philadelphia,” Piers continued.
He noted that disabled TV presenter Adam Pearson, was “on his side”, something which Adam said he “took with a pinch of salt” after a heated discussion on Twitter.
“But some people at ITV were complaining to the top about me being ableist, and that’s where the pressure gets to you. It’s madness,” he told The Sun.
Good Morning Britain continues weekdays at 6am on ITV.