Craig Revel Horwood and Jason Manford lead tributes to comic Phil Butler

The comedian and magician was a regular performer on the pantomime and cruise ship circuits.

Craig Revel Horwood and Jason Manford have paid tribute to comedian Phil Butler following his death at the age of 51.

Butler, who incorporated magic tricks into his shows, regularly performed in pantomime and on cruise ships, and was the first comedian to perform to British troops on the front line in Afghanistan.

His talent agency, Chris Davis Management, announced the news of his death on Twitter.

The statement said: “It is with huge sadness we have to announce the passing of our friend and client Phil Butler. Our thoughts are with his friends & family. The world is a poorer place without him.”

Strictly Come Dancing judge Revel Horwood said: “My thoughts at this time are with @philbutleruk family and friends. RIP lovely talented man. What a terrible shock.

“We worked together on panto Cinderella and he was a wonderful kind friend. We spent Xmas day and New Year together had a truly fabulous time. I’ll miss you terribly.”

Manford remembered working alongside Butler on shows including in the Spanish resort town of Magaluf.

He said: “Was so sorry to learn of the death of the always very funny & charming Phil Butler.

“Had many memorable gigs with him on the circuit including a mad weekend of shows at BCM Square in Magaluf!”

Fellow comedian Shaparak Khorsandi was also among those paying tribute.

“Rest in peace Phil,” she said.

“Another one of us gone too soon. For 20 years I’ve looked at the running order when I’ve got to a club and gone ‘oh fab! Phil Butler’s on’. Such a laugh on the road.

“In Dubai I asked about his UFO tattoo and loved the way he told The Story. A class act.”

Asa Elliott, who appeared in Benidorm from 2010 until 2014, said he was “utterly devastated at the news”.

He added: “One of the funniest people I’ve ever had the privilege of calling my friend.”

The cause of Butler’s death was not confirmed.

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