Tributes paid after TV singing granddad dies

X Factor's 2 Grand-Sallie Lax and John Neill.
X Factor's 2 Grand-Sallie Lax and John Neill.
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Tributes have been paid following the death of a South Yorkshire singing star who won the hearts of the nation on Britain’s Got Talent.

John Neill, who wowed fans on the popular ITV show as one half of musical duo 2 Grand with his granddaughter Sallie Lax, has died following a battle with cancer.

Fans have paid tribute to 81-year-old John, of Rossington, Doncaster, who reached the finals of the show in 2009 and completed 27 dates on the Britain’s Got Talent tour in the same year.

His daughter Susan said on 2 Grand’s official Facebook page on Saturday: “It is with great sadness I must write that Granddad John, the nation’s favourite granddad, passed away this evening at 7.10pm.

“He was a great man, loving father, granddad and great granddad. He will be sadly missed.”

Sallie also issued a moving tribute on social media and said: “My granddad is a trouper, a hero and legend and I will be forever thankful for the life he has given me, and the love he had for me. I will miss and love him always. r.i.p granddad.”

John, 81, lost his wife Joan to cancer just three days before auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent with Sallie.

He always said Joan was looking over them both when they got through to the live shows.

John had recently been battling cancer but continued to perform while receiving treatment.

Both he and his family decided to keep news of the treatment quiet because they did not want to upset fans.

Tributes from fans of the musical duo came flooding in on Facebook.

David Preston said: “RIP Granddad John, it was such a pleasure meeting you in Rhyl, a true gentleman and a proud man. Memories I cherish forever. So sorry for your loss.”

Mandy Griffin added: “Sorry to hear your sad news xxx.”

Daniel Webb said Mr Neill was an ‘amazing singer’.

The duo had been raising money for cancer charities before John’s death, aiming to raise £2,000 for Stand Up To Cancer.