Terry Jones, a founding member of the Monty Python comedy troupe, died Tuesday in his home while surrounded by his family, according to the U.K.’s Evening Standard. He was 77.
Jones had been diagnosed in 2016 with what is known as frontotemporal dementia, a brain disorder that impacted his ability to communicate and effectively prevented him from being able to speak near the end of his life.
A thespian tragedy
Terry Jones was an original founding member of the famed Monty Python comedy group that he helped form while attending Oxford University many decades ago along with fellow troupe-mates Michael Palin, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, and Eric Idle, as well as Neil Innes, who died in December at age 75.
Aside from his hilarious comedic performances in film and TV, Jones was also an author of children’s books as well as a serious and respected authority on medieval history.
He is survived by his wife, Anna, along with their three children, Bill, Sally, and Siri, who released a statement confirming Jones’ death: “We are deeply saddened to have to announce the passing of beloved husband and father, Terry Jones.
“Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good [humored] battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD,” the family explained.
“Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family, and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in North London,” their statement continued.
They went on: “We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades.”
A “fitting legacy”
The family’s statement went to recount all of Jones’ achievements in addition to his work with Monty Python, such as “his books, films, television [programs], poems, and other work” that they said will “live on” past his death and serve as a “fitting legacy” for him.
They also issued gratitude and praise to the health professionals who worked with Jones over the difficult final years of his life.
This is terribly sad news for anybody who grew up enjoying the comedic brilliance of Jones and the rest of his Monty Python troupe, and is the near equivalent of losing a member of royalty in terms of the realm of comedy.
He will be sorely missed, not only by his beloved family and close friends, but also by his many colleagues, those he has mentored along the way, and his legion of fans around the world.