Sir Michael Palin has paid tribute to his late ‘Monty Python’ co-star Terry Jones describing his dear friend as the “complete Renaissance comedian”.
Jones – who had been living with a rare form of dementia – passed away at the age of 77 on Tuesday evening with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side.
Palin has described Jones as a “kind, generous and supportive” man and a person who was committed to “living life to the full”.
In a statement, Palin, 76, said: “Terry was one of my closest, most valued friends. He was kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full.
“He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation, he was the complete Renaissance comedian – writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children’s author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have.”
Fellow Monty Python member John Cleese took to his Twitter account to remember his pal and couldn’t resist a joke about Jones’ passing, seemingly referring to the title of the 2014 live reunion shows ‘Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go’, the title of which was a reference to the gigs being the troupe’s first performances without late member Graham Chapman who died in 1989 at the age of 48.
Cleese, 80, tweeted: “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.”
As well as co-creating BBC comedy sketch show ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ with the rest of the troupe – which also includes Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam – Jones also directed their movies ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’ and ‘Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life’.
Jones was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a form of frontotemporal dementia that impairs the sufferer’s ability to speak and communicate, in 2015.
The comic star’s’ family went public with his condition in September 2016 to raise awareness of FTD, which, unlike Alzheimer’s disease, does not result in a loss of reasoning.
However, decision-making and speech are affected and sufferers often seem less caring.
In September 2019, Palin admitted that Jones no longer recognised him during his regular visits to his home as his condition worsened.
“The last time I saw him I don’t think he recognised me. We knew each other well. It feels like a part of yourself isn’t there anymore,” he said.