Cilla Black has died at the age of 72 at her Marbella villa in the south of Spain.

A spokesman for Spanish police said: "We are still awaiting autopsy results but everything at this stage is pointing towards her death being the result of natural causes."

She was made an OBE in 1997 and was handed a special Bafta award last year for her contribution to the entertainment industry.

Born Priscilla Maria Veronica White in Liverpool in May 1943, Cilla rose to become one of Britain's most popular singers and scored eleven Top Ten hits between 1964 and 1971.

Famous early hits included "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "You're My World", which both reached number one and earned her the attention and support of other Liverpudlians, The Beatles, whom she become friendly with working as a cloakroom attendant at the famed Cavern club.

After her singing career, Cilla made a successful foray onto television presenting hit shows "Surprise, Surprise" and "Blind Date" during the 1980s and 90s.

She was married to her manager Bobby Willis for more than 30 years until his death from lung cancer in 1999.

Reacting to the news, TV presenter Piers Morgan, who interview Cilla for his ITV series "Life Stories" wrote on Twitter: "RIP Cilla Black. Very very sad news. "She was a star for my entire life and a trailblazer for so many women in showbusiness."