Close friends of Only Fools and Horses star Roger Lloyd-Pack were shocked to learn of his death yesterday and said the actor didn’t tell them he was ill.
The much-loved actor died at his home in London from pancreatic cancer. He was aged 69.
His co-star in the BBC1 sitcom, Sir David Jason, was among those who paid tribute, saying he was not only a fine actor but “a pleasure to work with”.
But the wife of Bristol-born star John Challis – who played Boycie in the hit sit-com – said her husband was still too upset to talk about the news.
Mr Challis is a well known figure across the West Country and lives in a converted abbey at Wigmore in Herefordshire.
His tearful wife Carol said he was too upset to speak but would be paying tribute to his friend in due course.
She said: “He’s not in a very a good state right now. They only spoke two days ago. He sounded a bit odd but nobody knew anything about it.
“We are both very upset and he is very emotional today. It's really got to him.”
Agent Maureen Vincent said Roger Lloyd-Pack had pancreatic cancer and had “died at home surrounded by his family”.
Challis played Terrance Aubrey "Boycie" Boyce in the long running BBC series and its 2005 spin-off The Green Green Grass.
Trigger and Boycie are old schoolfriends of Del Boy and the two were often filmed in scenes together, often in the Nags Head pub.
Challis kept in touch with actors from the series when he moved to Herefordshire.
In the episode Sickness and Wealth, in which the series regulars took part in a seance, the medium asked for "an Audrey. Audrey. No... Aubrey?"
When Boycie replied that his middle name was Aubrey, Trigger said "You never told us your name is Aubrey."
Boycie replied "Nor would you if your name was Aubrey."
Sir David Jason told of his ``fondness'' for his sitcom co-star and described him as a fine actor.
He said: “I was very saddened to hear of Roger’s passing. He was a very quiet, kind and unassuming actor who was a pleasure to work with.
“Although he played the simple soul of Trigger in Only Fools And Horses, he was a very intelligent man and a very fine actor capable of many roles. I shall remember him with fondness and for all the good times we had together.”
Shane Allen, the BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning, said: “The nation bids a fond and sad farewell to one of the most popular television sitcom actors of his generation.
“Roger Lloyd-Pack enjoyed a long and successful career which spanned everything from the hugely iconic Trigger to roles in Shakespeare at The Globe.
“He will be greatly missed and his work will live on for many years to come. Our thoughts are with his loved ones.”
John Sullivan, the writer behind hit series died after a short illness in April 2011. He was 64.