David Jason pays tribute to late Only Fools and Horses co-star John Challis

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David Jason has paid tribute to his Only Fools and Horses co-star John Challis following his death last week.

Challis' family announced on Sunday that the actor, who was best known for playing second-hand car dealer Boycie in the TV sitcom, had died peacefully in his sleep following a battle with cancer at the age of 79.

Following the announcement, Jason, who led the show as market trader Del Boy, issued a statement about his "dear friend".

"It is with much sadness to hear that John Challis, a dear friend, has passed away," he said. "He was a wonderful actor, a gentleman in the true sense of the word and I know he will be missed by so many."

He added that Boycie was "a character so well loved by the many fans of that show so I am pleased that he witnessed the outpouring of admiration recently shown for the 40th anniversary of the first episode in 1981."

He concluded his statement by saying, "I send my love and condolences to his wife, Carol."

Sue Holderness, who played Challis' on-screen wife Marlene, also paid tribute to her longtime co-star, writing, "Marlene without Boycie - it's unthinkable. John Challis was my partner on screen and stage for 36 years and my beloved friend. R.I.P. darling John. I will miss you every day."

Challis also received tributes from the likes of 'Allo 'Allo! actress Vicki Michelle, singer Sheila Ferguson, Dr Who star Colin Baker, and rapper/actor Ice-T, who "somehow" became Twitter friends with Challis.

"I'm very sad. Although I never met him in person.. Internet friends can become close.. RIP," he tweeted.

Only Fools and Horses ran between 1981 to 1991, with sporadic Christmas specials until 2003.

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