Monty Python co-founder Terry Jones has died, the BBC reports. He was 77 years old.
Jones passed away on Tuesday following a “long, extremely brave” battle with dementia. His family has released the following statement:
“We are deeply saddened to have to announce the passing of beloved husband and father, Terry Jones.
Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.
Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in north London. We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades. His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programmes, poems and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath.
We, his wife Anna, children Bill, Sally, Siri and extended family would like to thank Terry’s wonderful medical professionals and carers for making the past few years not only bearable but often joyful. We hope that this disease will one day be eradicated entirely. We ask that our privacy be respected at this sensitive time and give thanks that we lived in the presence of an extraordinarily talented, playful and happy man living a truly authentic life, in his words ‘Lovingly frosted with glucose.’”
The Monty Python comedy group was first formed while they all worked on the short-lived BBC program The Frost Report, which aired from 1966-1967. They made their television debut with the sketch-comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which premiered on Oct. 5, 1969. A total of four series (or 45 episodes) were produced between 1969 and 1974.
Jones would go on to make his directorial debut with 1975’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which he co-directed with fellow member Terry Gilliam. He also directed the subsequent Python films Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.
He was primarily a creative force behind projects, though his notable on-camera characters include The Meaning of Life‘s Mr. Creosote (whom you did not want to offer a “wafer-thin” after-dinner mint), as well as Holy Grail‘s Sir Bedevere (believer in a banana-shaped Earth) and Flying Circus‘ Arthur “Two Sheds” Jackson.
Jones received many accolades throughout his storied career, including a 1983 BAFTA nomination for Best Original Song (The Meaning of Life‘s “Every Sperm Is Sacred”) and a 2004 Emmy nod for his work on the BBC docuseries Medieval Lives. In 2016, he was honored with the BAFTA Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television.