Sean Lock, the widely admired British comedian who was a regular on comedy panel shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats and QI, has died. He was 58.
His agent told the BBC that Lock died Wednesday at his home from cancer.
Known for his deadpan and dry delivery, Lock was a popular figure on television and in comedy circles. A host of comedians in the U.K., Australia and elsewhere, including Jimmy Carr, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Fry, Bill Bailey, Lee Mack, Eddie Izzard, Harry Hill and Jon Richardson, have taken to social media to pay tribute to Lock who was known as the “comedian’s comedian.”
“At his best, Sean reminded us all what we loved about a great gag and why we got into comedy in the first place,” wrote Hill in a widely shared piece in The Guardian.
“Such sad news. RIP the great Sean Lock. One of the funniest, most influential comedians of a generation. A lovely man,” Gervais tweeted.
Born in Surrey, England, in 1963, Lock left school early and worked as a laborer. He developed skin cancer in 1990, which he attributed to working outside, and recovered. He moved into stand-up comedy by the late 1980s and had his first taste of television working with rising comedians David Baddiel and Rob Newman on the highly influential BBC series Newman and Baddiel in Pieces in 1993.
He was named best live comic at the British Comedy Awards in 2000 and nominated for a Perrier Comedy Award the same year, one of the most prestigious prizes in the industry.
In 2002, he created, wrote and starred in the BBC comedy 15 Storeys High, a small-screen adaptation of the radio show 15 Minutes of Misery. Co-starring Doctor Strange star Benedict Wong, 15 Storeys High starred Lock as a serial pessimist living in a high-rise apartment block with his overly optimistic roommate (Wong). The series achieved a cult-like following and lasted two seasons.
He is best known to wider audiences for his stints on comedy panel shows including QI, The Last Leg, Have I Got News for You and The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, but most notably the Carr-hosted 8 Out of 10 Cats on Channel 4 — Lock starred in it as a team captain from 2005 to 2016.
Outside of television, he co-wrote the screenplay for Andrew Kötting’s 2001 feature This Filthy Earth, which was adapted from Émile Zola’s 1887 novel La Terre.
He is survived by his wife Anoushka Nara Giltsoff and their three children.