TV mystic Derek Acorah has died aged 69 after a short illness, his wife has said.
The self-styled spiritual medium, whose real name is Derek Johnson, is best known for hosting paranormal reality TV series Most Haunted and for appearing on Celebrity Big Brother in 2017.
His wife Gwen Acorah shared the news in a statement on his official Facebook page, adding that the psychic had been in intensive care after falling into a coma.
“Farewell my love! I will miss you forever! I’m devastated to announce that my beloved husband Derek has passed away after a very brief illness,” she wrote.
“Thank you so much to everybody who has supported me – I can never thank you enough.”
Tributes have been paid to the medium, including from former colleagues Yvette Fielding and husband Karl Beattie, who worked alongside him on Most Haunted.
In a statement, they said: “Our condolences are with Derek’s family at this time. Yvette and Karl.”
Mrs Acorah also referred to a “vile couple”, who she says “hounded” her husband while he was in a coma in intensive care.
She said: “I hope you have the decency to hang your heads in shame.
“I have things to deal with now but I won’t forget nor will I forgive what you have done!”
Acorah got his big break on TV thanks to Psychic Livetime on satellite channel Granada Breeze, and then followed it up with his own series Predictions With Derek Acorah.
He then went to Living to feature in Most Haunted, where he was the guest medium for several series until he departed after six series in 2005 following claims of fakery.
The show’s resident parapsychologist Dr Ciaran O’Keeffe told The Mirror in late 2005 that he had set up Acorah by having other crew members feed him false information about spirits in various locations.
Dr O’Keeffe invented a long-dead South African jailer called Kreed Kafer, an anagram of Derek Faker, and said he was stunned when the TV medium “got possessed by my fictional character” at Bodmin Jail.
In 2006, Acorah’s former co-host Yvette Fielding told the Metro: “We tell people everything is real, then it turns out he was a fake, so he had to go.”
After Most Haunted, the presenter had another series called Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns, which ran for three series in 2005 and 2006.
In 2009 Acorah attempted to contact the late King of Pop in a broadcast called Derek Acorah’s Michael Jackson: The Live Seance, but the show was widely panned by viewers and critics.
Acorah was forced to apologise to the McCann family after he was quoted as saying that that their lost daughter Madeleine was dead.
He reportedly told The Sun that she had joined the “spirit world”, greatly upsetting the McCanns, although Acorah later claimed he had been misquoted by the paper.
Acorah was banned from driving for more than two years in 2014 after admitting to driving without due care and attention and for failing to provide a breath test following a crash the previous year.
He appeared in series 20 of Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5, where he came fourth.
Acorah was born in Bootle, Merseyside, in 1950.
He originally had aspirations to be a footballer, and was on the books of Liverpool FC but did not play a game.
He went on to play football in Australia but his career in the sport ended while he was in his late twenties due to a leg injury.
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