Ben Elton - Ben Elton Pays Tribute To Rik Mayall As Officials Probe Cause Of Tragedy
British writer Ben Elton has paid tribute to his close friend and former collaborator Rik Mayall as mystery continues to surround the funnyman's death.
Mayall passed away suddenly at his home in London on Monday (09Jun14) at the age of 56, sparking an outpouring of grief from the U.K. entertainment industry.
Elton, who co-wrote Mayall's breakthrough sitcom The Young Ones, has now joined the tributes, saying in a statement, "I met Rik when I was 18 and his friendship and extraordinary comic talent have been an inspiration to me ever since. I owe him so much, he changed my life utterly when he asked me to co-write The Young Ones... He always made me cry with laughter, now he's just made me cry."
The cause of Mayall's death remains unknown, and a coroner is carrying out tests to determine what was behind the tragedy.
The comedian's wife Barbara Robbin has speculated Mayall may have suffered an epileptic fit related to head injuries he received in a quad bike accident in 1998, and his friend Peter Richardson also suspects some kind of seizure.
Robbin says, "I don't think it was a heart attack, but we just don't know until the coroner's report. Maybe he had a fit, maybe it was his heart. We just don't know."
Richardson, who founded the Comic Strip comedy troupe which helped launch Mayall's career, tells BBC Radio 4, "We still don't know quite what happened, but it was a seizure of some sort. It was very quick... It was just shocking that he went. He was so happy and seemed very healthy when he did go."