Sean Lock, dubbed “one of the most influential comedians of a generation” by fellow comedian Ricky Gervais, died after a long battle with cancer. He was 58 years old at the time.
Lock’s agent confirmed to the Guardian that the “8 Out of 10 Cats” star died at home surrounded by his family.
“Sean was one of Britain’s finest comedians, his boundless creativity, lightning wit and the absurdist brilliance of his work marked him out as a unique voice in British comedy,” his management team, Off the Kerb Productions, said in a statement. “Sean was also a cherished husband and father to three children. Sean will be sorely missed by all that knew him.”
Lock, who was born in Woking, Surrey, dropped out of school in the early 1980s and started working in the construction industry. He later developed skin cancer, which he attributed to excessive sun exposure, according to Variety. He recovered completely, however, and then focused on launching his comedy career.
With his 18-season run as a team captain on Jimmy Carr’s Channel 4 comedy panel show “8 Out of 10 Cats” and its spin-off, “8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown,” the UK television personality — known for his deadpan absurdist style — first achieved major small-screen success in 2005.
Lock also co-hosted “The Big Fat Quiz of the Year” in 2008 alongside future “Late Late Show” host James Corden, and wrote and starred in the early aughts cult hit BBC sitcom “15 Storeys High,” which was based on his previous BBC Radio 4 show “15 Minutes of Misery.”
Lock also toured extensively with his improv show “Lockipedia,” in which he improvised on topics suggested by his audience in the moment. He frequently referred to the show as a game of “audience battleships,” in which he would call out a seat number and request that the occupant provide him with a topic to riff on.
“Such sad news. RIP the great Sean Lock,” Gervais, 60, wrote. “[He was] one of the funniest, most influential comedians of a generation. A lovely man.”
Piers Morgan, the controversial TV host, also chimed in, quoting one of Lock’s most famous quips: ‘If I could have my ashes scattered anywhere, I’d have them scattered in Piers Morgan’s eyes.’ Sean Lock, rest in peace.”