CILLA’S FINAL HOURS OF LAUGHTER AND FUN
Sons reveal their mum’s exuberant spirit and love of life
CILLA Black’s final hours were filled with love and laughter, as she sipped champagne and joked at the family’s luxury Spanish villa, her son has revealed.
Heartbroken eldest son Robert Willis, 45 – who found his mum slumped on her balcony after she suffered a fatal fall – revealed how they had spent the morning chatting and watching Jeremy Kyle.
Speaking in detail about his last precious moments with his 72-year-old mum who lived in Denham, Robert, who was also her manager, recalled how he’d gone for a swim before joining her in her room.
“She was sitting around having a glass of champagne killing herself laughing at Jeremy Kyle – without the hearing aids, obviously – so blaring out across Marbella,” he said.
“We hung out and at about 1pm I said I was going to do a shop. I said goodbye and that was the last time I saw her.”
A post-mortem examination revealed the popular singer and TV presenter died after toppling backwards on her sun terrace, knocking over a table before hitting her head on the wall. The impact left her unconscious and caused a rare form of stroke.
Cilla, who had two other sons Ben, 41, and Jack, 35, lay undiscovered on the terrace for up to four hours, according to a report into her death.
She died on August 1 – the first day of her planned holiday with Robert.
Robert also told how she had begun to feel the affects of old age.
He said: “During the last two years she began to suffer fairly standard things that people as they get older would suffer.
“Her hearing had started to go, so she had to start wearing hearing aids. Typical of my mum, she wouldn’t wear them. The thing that really affected her physically was her arthritis.”
Her sons opened up about their late mum in an ITV tribute show aired on Christmas Day called Our Cilla.
They also told how Cilla – who had a string of pop hits in the 1960s before presenting TV shows Blind Date and Surprise Surprise – struggled with the death of her beloved husband Bobby long after he died in 1999 aged 57 from cancer.
“It was so difficult for her just to acknowledge it,” Robert says. Ben adds: “It knocked mum for six.” Paul O’Grady , one of her closest pals, also featured in the programme.
“Things used to happen when we’d go out and I’d always get the blame. Invariably it’d be dawn breaking before we’d get in or go home,” he laughed.
Joan Collins, 82, and Jimmy Tarbuck, Cilla’s friend for 55 years, also paid tribute in the special.
Speaking of her funeral, Jimmy, 75, said: “It was like a state funeral, it was six deep on the pavements. Liverpool did her proud, as she’d done Liverpool proud.”
Fun times: Cilla Black with close friend Paul O’Grady