Entertainer Barry Chuckle was diagnosed with bone cancer but kept it secret from his fans, his brother claimed.
The veteran entertainer, real name Barry Elliott, died at the weekend at the age of 73.
He found fame performing alongside his brother Paul Elliott as the Chuckle Brothers, in BBC comedy showChuckleVision, which ran for 21 series from 1987 to 2009.
Mr Elliott's eldest brother Jimmy Patton said the TV star had been suffering from bone cancer which had spread to his lungs, but kept news of the disease private.
Mr Patton told The Sun: "We are all devastated.
"Barry had bone cancer which had spread to his lungs.
"He was ill for years, but kept it hidden.
"We knew about it, but kept it quiet, and all the family are really hurting right now."
Mr Patton said he was "amazed" his brother performed in panto last year despite being ill.
He said Mr Elliott's death had been particularly hard on his comedy partner Paul.
"Paul was closest to Barry you see and he is devastated, we all are - it's very sad," he told The Sun.