Matt Lucas and David Walliams lead tributes to Dennis Waterman

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Matt Lucas and David Walliams have paid tribute to Dennis Waterman following his death.

The actor's family announced on Sunday that the star, best known for TV shows such as Minder, The Sweeney and New Tricks, had passed away at the age of 74. They said he died "very peacefully in hospital in Spain" with his wife Pam by his side.

Following the news, TV stars took to social media to remember Dennis, including Bake Off's Matt, who shared a picture of the actor on stage with him and his Little Britain co-star David during a live performance in 2006.

"I grew up watching Dennis Waterman's iconic performances in The Sweeney and Minder. His guest appearance in our Little Britain Live show at Hammersmith Apollo - in which he hilariously duetted with David's absurd impersonation of him - remains the absolute highlight of my career," he wrote on Twitter.

The Britain's Got Talent judge shared the same photo on Instagram and called Dennis' appearance "my happiest moment ever on stage".

"The audience went wild when the real Dennis Waterman walked onto the stage," he recalled. "He was such a great sport and acted his outrage at me and Matt for lampooning him superbly. Dennis had magnificent comic timing, and really made us both and the entire audience laugh. Matt and I caught each other’s eyes as we sang with him, thinking how did all this happen to us? It felt like magic."

David played Dennis alongside Matt as his agent in a long-running sketch for Little Britain. The caricature Dennis turns down roles that won't let him "write the theme tune, sing the theme tune", a reference to the real Dennis singing the themes for Minder and New Tricks, among others.

Elsewhere, Paddy McGuinness called Dennis an "icon from my childhood" and revealed how he "always wanted to be" Dennis' Minder character Terry McCann, while DIY SOS star Nick Knowles called the late actor "a genuinely lovely guy".

Dennis is survived by his wife Pam and two daughters, including former EastEnders actress Hannah Waterman.

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