SHE WAS one of the original stars of Gogglebox – warming the hearts of fans of the hit TV show for years.
But who was June Bernicoff, how did she die and when was she first cast on the Channel 4 series?
Who was June Bernicoff?
June was a well-loved part of the cast of Gogglebox – which sees groups of family and friends filmed giving their honest thoughts on a wide range of telly from their sofas.
She starred in the show alongside her husband Leon – who passed away in December 2017 aged 83.
They appeared in the programme from their home in Allerton, Liverpool.
Following his death, June left the programme and went on to write two books about their 63-year romance, titled Leon and June: Our Story and Forever Sweethearts.
In September 2018, she opened up in an interview on ITV's This Morning about how his passing had affected her.
June said: "It's just nine months [since he died]. Fortunately I've been very busy because I was approached to write the book.
"It's given me a purpose to set aside parts of the day to write. I think at first it was just the sadness because I just started remembering the last few days he was really ill.
"But then going back and remembering the fun we had…I can't remember life without him, not really."
In 2019, she told Graham Norton on BBC Radio 2 that Leon, despite suffering from an illness, had insisted on filming their final episode together.
They met at teacher training college in 1955, and were married for 57 years.
The couple had two daughters, Helen and Julie.
In December, June is understood to have moved to Warwickshire – leaving Liverpool after 62 years – to be nearer her family.
How did the Gogglebox star die?
It has been revealed that June passed away, aged 82, on Tuesday May 5th, 2020 at home with family by her side.
Her death followed a short illness that was unrelated to coronavirus, and she had been treated at a hospice.
A statement from Channel 4 read: "Our thoughts are with June's family – Helen and Ian, Julie and Marc, and her beloved grandchildren Frances, Sam and Faye.
"The family would like to ask for privacy at this sad time, but would like to thank the hospice staff that supported them and cared for June so wonderfully and with such compassion in her final weeks."
The channel added that she was a "remarkably independent, principled woman with a vivacious sense of humour and a huge passion for life.
"Despite her departure from the show in 2017, she remained a passionate supporter of the programme, watching it every week, and she was in regular contact with the production team."
They also noted: "As the first couple to be cast for Gogglebox back in 2013, June and her husband Leon were a huge part of the programme's success.
"Their warmth, wit and contrasting personalities endeared them to the nation during the course of the first 10 series."
In a post on Twitter, show producer Tania Alexander wrote: "June and Leon were the Gogglebox originals and a huge part of the show's success. I adored them both. Big kiss June darling."
A host of celebrities have also paid tribute to June on social media.
In a post on Twitter, Gogglebox star Stephen Webb shared: "Rest in peace our June, reunited with Leon! Forever in our hearts."
On Instagram, former show favourite Scarlett Moffatt wrote: "You will be missed by all. Reunited with your true love.”
Sky News presenter added on Twitter: "So very sad to hear that June Bernicoff has died after a short illness. Together with Leon, who passed away two years ago, she was a brilliant addition to Gogglebox."
Channel 4 dedicated an episode of Gogglebox on Friday May 8th, 2020, to the star, writing: "In loving memory, June Bernicoff 1937-2020."
When did she join Gogglebox?
June joined the series with her husband Leon for its inaugural series in 2013.
They were the first couple to appear in the programme.
Following Leon's death in December 2017, June left the show.
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