Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood poses with her award for Best Single Drama for 'Housewife, 49' at the Baftas of 2007 Getty Images

Much-loved comedian Victoria Wood spent her last days laughing and joking with her family, after being diagnosed with cancer just six months earlier. The entertainer, who was described by Prime Minister David Cameron as "a national treasure," fought a short battle with the illness and spent the evening before her death with her two adult children Grace, 27, and Harry, 23, The Sun said, reportedly keeping them smiling by cracking jokes.

In an announcement made shortly after she died by her publicist the family asked for privacy in a statement that said: "Victoria Wood has sadly passed away, after a short but brave battle with cancer.

"The multi Bafta-award-winning writer, director, actor and comedian died peacefully at her North London home with family this morning. She was 62. The family ask for privacy at this very sad time."

Following the news of her death, tributes poured in on social media from friends, colleagues and fans, including a touching statement from her long-time comedy partner Julie Walters, who said: "Too heart-sore to comment. The loss of her is incalculable."

The pair had been friends since their teenage years, when they met auditioning at Manchester Polytechnic's student theatre.

The youngest of four children, from Prestwich, Lancashire, Wood became one of the nation's most-loved comedians after winning talent show New Faces in 1974.

She went on to become a well-known stand-up comic, going on to win Bafta awards for performing, and later for writing and directing, and in 1997 was awarded an OBE, following by a CBE in 2008.

The multi-talented performer, who played piano, wrote scripts and quite simply made people laugh, was described by those who knew her as warm-hearted. She took a great interest in charity work, visiting Ethiopia and Zimbabwe for Comic Relief, and most recently starring in Comic Relief's Great British Bake Off.

Following the news of her death, Wood's official Twitter account shared some of the comedian's most-loved jokes.