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Cilla Black Has Died, Aged 72

Spanish police have confirmed that she died at her home near Marbella.

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A Spanish police spokesperson said: "I can confirm the death of British national Priscilla White, aged 72," The Telegraph reported. The cause of death is still unconfirmed, but police added: "We are still awaiting autopsy results but everything at this stage is pointing towards her death being the result of natural causes."

Cilla changed her surname from "White" during her career as a singer in the 1960s when Liverpool paper Merseybeat mistakenly called her "Cilla Black" and it stuck as a stage name.

Black began her career in the early 1960s as a cloakroom assistant at The Cavern Club, where she became part of a Liverpool music scene that included The Beatles and was encouraged to perform herself.

In 1963, Black became the only woman contracted to Brian Epstein, The Beatles' manager, and subsequently signed to Parlophone.

Her 1963 debut single was the Lennon-and-McCartney-penned song "Love of the Loved".

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Her song "Anyone Who Had a Heart" was No. 1 for three weeks in 1964.

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The song was originally written by Burt Bacharach for Dionne Warwick in 1963.

Black enjoyed a successful pop career throughout the '60s and '70s, and her version of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" reaching No. 2 in 1965.

In 1969, Black married her manager, Bobby Willis, with whom she remained until his death from cancer in 1999.

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Bobby Willis and Cilla Black at Marylebone Registry office in January 1969.

Black and Willis had three sons, Robert, Ben, and Jack, and a daughter, Ellen, who died only two hours after she was born in 1975.

Black and Willis's relationship was the subject of the 2014 biopic Cilla, with actor Sheridan Smith playing Black.

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The show was a mainstay of Saturday night television and saw Black matchmake for hundreds of couples over its 18-year run.

Her catchphrase "What's your name and where do you come from?" became familiar to many.

Couples on Blind Date rarely ended up getting together, but Black would joke that she was saving her "hat" for when they did.

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After those shows ended, Black remained a mainstay of British entertainment until her death, with regular presenting and charity appearances.

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Cilla Black walks the runway during the Fashion for Relief show during London Fashion in 2008.

On news of Black's death, fellow Merseyside TV personality Paul O'Grady led tributes, telling the Liverpool Echo: "We’ve been friends for nearly 20 years. She’s like my sister."

Cliff Richard said: "She was a very special person, and I have lost a very wonderful friend, I will miss her dearly. God bless her," reported the Liverpool Echo.

In a statement, Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC, said: “Cilla Black was a wonderful artist and talented entertainer who brought joy to millions. She will be deeply missed.”

ITV, home to much of Black's TV career, said: "Our thoughts are with her family and friends."

The whole ITV family are very sad to hear of the passing of Cilla Black. Our thoughts are with her family & friends.

Tributes for the much-loved television star have been flooding Twitter.

RIP Cilla Black. Very very sad news.

I am so sad and shocked by news about my good friend Cilla. She was a resplendent and rare talent. RIP #cillablack http://t.co/wsK6RtIszI

Very sad news about Cilla Black. She was an inspiration to me growing up. x

Dear #Cilla our 60's pop icon, a true star of Sat Night TV & a friendly, caring, generous lady. A Lorra Lorra love & gratitude Cilla. Noel

Interim Labour party leader Harriet Harman and prime minister David Cameron paid tribute.

An icon of her era. Her unique voice will live on. RIP Cilla Black. Thoughts with her family & friends.

PM: Cilla Black was a huge talent who made a significant contribution to public life in Britain. My thoughts are with her family.

Holly Willoughby, the most recent presenter of Surprise Surprise, shared her condolences.

So so sad to hear the news that we have lost one of my heroes, Cilla you were one incredible lady! Sending all my love to her family. X

Fellow presenter Gabby Logan noted Black's influence on the television industry.

Cilla Black was the complete entertainer/host in an era when everyone watched TV. She was a trail blazer. RIP Cilla.

This Morning presenters Phillip Schofield and Ruth Langsford called her an "icon" and a "lorra lorra laughs", to borrow a phrase of Black's.

I've just heard the incredibly sad news that the legendary Cilla has died. So sad. A truly wonderful lady and an entertainment icon 😢

So sad to hear that Cilla Black has left us......you gave us a "Lorra Lorra laughs" Cilla. RIP x x

Andi Peters and Spice Girl Emma Bunton said she was a "national treasure".

Such sad news to hear that Cilla Black has passed away. A true legend and national treasure. #RIPCilla

So sad, what a women, national treasure. #CillaBlack

According to the Evening Standard, Black's son Robert, who was also her manager, was in Spain with her when she died.

Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Laura Silver at laura.silver@buzzfeed.com.

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