LIFESTYLES of the Rich and Famous host Robin Leach has died in Las Vegas at the age of 76, his family confirmed.
The British journalist had been ill since November when he had a stroke while on holiday in Mexico but he sadly passed away in the early hours of Friday.
His friend and colleague John Katsilometes, columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, tweeted: “Sad to report the death of famed celeb reporter, friend and colleague #RobinLeach @ 1:50 a.m. in #LasVegas.
“He would have been 77 Wednesday. He suffered a second stroke Monday. He in hospice care. He’d been hospitalized since Nov. 21, after suffering a stroke in Cabo San Lucas.”
John also added a statement from the family, which said: “Despite the past 10 months, what a beautiful life he had. Our Dad, Grandpa, Brother, Uncle and friend Robin Leach passed away peacefully last night at 1:50 a.m.
“Everyone’s support and love over the past, almost one year, has been incredible and we are so grateful. Memorial arrangements to follow. With love, Steven, Gregg and Rick Leach.”
Leach’s voice crystallised the opulent 1980s TV show and he never lost his English accent, despite moving to the US when he was just 21.
He was known for his signature sign-off at the end of every episode of Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous: “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams”.
Celine Dion was among the celebrities leading the tribute to the star on Twitter today.
She said: “Saddened to hear the news that Robin Leach has passed away.
“He was a thoughtful and considerate man, and a great supporter of the entertainment scene in Las Vegas.”
Magician Criss Angel tweeted that he met “Uncle Robin,” as he affectionately referred to Leach, in 2004 and became fast friends.
He wrote: “There will never be another.”
In a statement, casino operator MGM Resorts International said Las Vegas had “lost one of its biggest cheerleaders.”
Leach’s show took wishful viewers on tours of mansions with diamond-crusted chandeliers, yachts with Jacuzzis, and champagne that ran to four figures.
He said in later years that someone still shouted “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” at him almost daily.
He was constantly parodied, and like other distinctive voices of the age like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Howard Cosell, everyone had a Leach impression.
In 2011, Snoop Dogg spotted Leach in Las Vegas and was thrilled, rushing to grab the mic and breaking out his impression, touting his career earnings in an over-the-top English accent.
Leach was born in London and attended Harrow High School where he edited the school magazine at the age of 14.
A year later he became a general news reporter for the Harrow Observer and at 17 he started a monthly glossy town magazine.
At 18 he joined the Daily Mail as Britain’s youngest Page One reporter before emigrating across the Pond in 1963, writing for several US outlets including CNN, People magazine, and Entertainment Tonight.
In the mid-1970s, he tried out TV as a regular contributor to AM Los Angeles with hosts Regis Philbin and Sarah Purcell, and found his calling.
He became a regular on television’s morning news and entertainment shows and became friends with the celebrities he covered.
Then, in 1984, he landed Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and gained his own fame.
The gaudy show became wildly popular, but never with critics.
Speaking to the Huffington Post in 2016, Leach said: “They wrote that television had reached an all-time-low.
“But I looked at the ratings every Monday morning, and I was rubbing my hands with glee.”
In 1999, Leach went to Las Vegas to work with celebrity chefs at the Venetian casino-resort, and made the move permanent, becoming a fixture in the city as he covered the destination’s entertainment and lifestyles for America Online and his own website.
He also wrote for the Las Vegas Sun and, most recently, for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
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He made frequent appearances on the celebrity reality TV circuit, hosting VH-1’s The Surreal Life: Fame Games and appearing on the celebrity editions of Wife Swap and Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
He was among the founders of the Food Network, selling his equity for a big payday when the channel took off.
Married once and divorced, Leach spent much of his later years in the company of his three sons, Steven, Rick and Greg, and several grandchildren.
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