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Des O'Connor's 'heartbroken' daughter opens up on last moments with father

Amy Johnson
·2-min read
Des O'Connor died at the age of 88 last week. (Photo by Robbie Jack/Corbis via Getty Images)
Des O'Connor died at the age of 88 last week. (Robbie Jack/Corbis via Getty Images)

Des O'Connor's daughter Kristina has shared a heartfelt tribute to her father following his death last week at the age of 88.

Kristina, a 32-year-old singer who performs under the name Tarantina, posted a message to Twitter noting that she wanted to comment on his passing but that it would be "impossible" for her to "adequately explain how heartbroken" she is.

She wrote: "I feel very grateful that we were able to spend some of his last moments together (covid-safely), just the two of us, and to say what we needed to say to one another.

"I told him about the deep feeling feeling of pride in my belly whenever somebody points out how similar we are, both as performers and as people. He told me that I was going to make him cry if I carried on talking like that (he dabbed at his eye).

Read more: Tommy Cannon leads mourners at Bobby Ball’s funeral

"The other things we said were just for us."

Kristina, whose mother is the star's third wife Jay Rufer, said it "wasn't always easy" to share her father with the rest of the world.

Watch: Look back at Des O’Connor’s dazzling career

"Sometimes I just wanted him all to myself. But after witnessing such an overwhelming outpouring of love and warmth in tributes, being able to share him now feels, itself, like one more gift.

"There is so much more that I want to say, but maybe I can't find the words.

"But that you for all sharing your thoughts, your condolences and your favourite moments from his career. I'm discovering old clips and photos that I've never seen before and it brings me comfort. Even now, the saddest I have ever felt, Daddy can still make me laugh.

"Thank you.”

File photo dated 02/12/08 of veteran entertainer Des O'Connor with his (left to right) daughters Samantha and Karen, wife Jodie, son Adam, 4, and daughter Kristina, receiving his CBE at Buckingham Palace, London. Des O'Connor sadly passed away on Saturday 14 November aged 88. His agent confirmed he had been admitted to hospital just over a week ago, following a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire. Unfortunately yesterday evening his condition suddenly deteriorated and he drifted peacefully away in his sleep.
Des O'Connor with his (left to right) daughters Samantha and Karen, wife Jodie, son Adam, 4, and daughter Kristina, receiving his CBE at Buckingham Palace, London.

Des died in hospital on Saturday, days after he suffered a fall at his Buckinghamshire home. His agent said he had passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Tributes poured in for the much-loved star, who hosted programmes such as Des O'Connor Tonight, Countdown and Today With Des And Mel.

The entertainer had four other children, daughter Karen with first wife Phyllis Gill, daughters Tracy and Samantha with second wife Gillian Vaughan and son Adam with fourth wife Jodie Brooke Wilson.

Watch: Jimmy Tarbuck remembers the late Des O’Connor