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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Jake Hackney

Gladiators icon Falcon dies aged 59 after ‘battling cancer for a number of years’

Gladiators star Falcon, real name Bernadette Hunt, has died aged 59 after “battling cancer for a number of years,” The Mirror reports. Her death was announced in a Gladiators Facebook group by Rick Jango, the partner of Falcon’s sister.

A tribute to the TV star – who died on March 14 – read: “It is with great sadness that I have to tell you of my partner’s younger sister Bernadette Hunt. Most people will remember her as Falcon From the hit TV Show Gladiators.

“I had the privilege to be in her company a few times and I have to say she was one of the loveliest people I have ever met. She never had a bad word to say about anyone, indeed she was always known as the nicest ‘Gladiator’ always stopping to speak and sign autographs for anyone.

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“She had been battling cancer for a number of years until sadly she lost her fight R.I.P. Bernie”.

It was later confirmed a private funeral would be held for family only. Fans have since posted heartfelt tributes to the former Gladiator on social media.

Bernadette Hunt starred as Falcon (LWT)

Kieran Meakins wrote: “I LOVED Gladiators as a kid and Falcon was my fave. I met her as a kid and she gave me her autograph and I remember her being so lovely.”

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Vix Tyler added: “I can’t believe I’m reading this. One of the nicest and most kind person you could meet R.I.P Bernadette/Falcon.”

“One of my favourite Gladiators, always so warm and polite, never had a bad word to say about any contender. May her soul Rest in Peace,” Nick Strhan wrote.

Amy Nymeria Shepperd added: “Omg this is so so sad. I met her once when I was 14, she was super sweet. Rip Bernadette you will be missed.”

Bernadette appeared on Gladiators until its final series in 1999 (ITV)

Bernadette joined the hit TV show in its second series in 1993 and earned a reputation as the ‘nicest’ Gladiator. She remained on the show until its eighth series in 1999, becoming the second longest-serving female Gladiator, according to the statement.

She also appeared on International Gladiators in 1994 and 1995. In the years following the show’s end, Bernadette worked as a fitness instructor in Basingstoke, according to reports.

Her career could have taken a very different path as it was previously reported she was accepted into the London Contemporary Ballet School at the age of 18. However, her hopes of becoming a dancer were scrapped as she suffered a back injury.

The statement adds that she instead became a “champion bodybuilder,” wining Miss Natural Health in 1992 – the first competition she entered. She later won other titles including Miss Novice Britain, Miss London and Home Countries 1992 and Miss South Britain.


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