Jane McDonald announces death of fiancé Eddie Rothe at 67

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Eddie Rothe and Jane McDonald
McDonald said Rothe had been battling lung cancer in recent months

Jane McDonald has announced the death of her fiancé Eddie Rothe, a musician best known for being the drummer in Liquid Gold and later The Searchers.

Singer and TV presenter McDonald said Rothe had "been battling lung cancer for the last few months".

He died two weeks ago aged 67. His funeral took place on Wednesday.

Rothe enjoyed chart success throughout his career, and narrowly missed out on representing the UK at Eurovision 1981 - to the eventual winners Bucks Fizz.

"We would like to thank everyone for all their help and support during this very difficult time, especially the NHS staff and the wonderful team at The Wakefield Hospice," read a statement on McDonald's Twitter page.

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The pair first dated as teenagers after meeting in a Wakefield nightclub, where she was a waitress and he - using the name Wally Rothe - was playing drums in Liquid Gold.

They later broke up but rekindled their romance almost 30 years later after a chance meeting on the set of This Morning, before getting engaged in 2008.

McDonald, who scored a number one with her eponymous debut album before going on to appear on Loose Women and host her own Channel 5 cruising show, praised Rothe for helping her with her career in her 2019 autobiography, Riding The Waves: My Story.

'I should have done this 26 years ago'

Writing about their engagement, McDonald recalled: "Suddenly, Ed cleared his throat and put his hand in his pocket. 'Jane, you are definitely the one for me, and I should have done this 26 years ago,' he said. 'Will you marry me?'

"I was so overwhelmed that I started crying. Then Ed started crying! People around us were mortified - thinking we'd split up'."

Rothe's band Liquid Gold scored a number two hit in 1980 with Dance Yourself Dizzy, which McDonald later covered herself.

A year later their single Don't Panic was entered into the Song For Europe competition to pick the UK's entry for that year's Eurovision Song Contest. It was beaten only by the eventual winning song - Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz.

In 1998, he replaced drummer Billy Adamson behind the kit in The Searchers - the 1960s band who had emerged alongside other Brit Invasion stars like The Beatles and The Hollies.

He spent more than a decade with the band, who enjoyed pop hits with Sweets For My Sweet and Sugar and Spice.

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The team behind Loose Women, the ITV series on which McDonald was a panellist, offered their "deepest condolences" to her in a post on social media.

"Ed was a part of our Loose Women family for many years and appeared on our show on numerous occasions," a statement from the programme said.

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