Former Britain’s Got Talent contestant Fred Bowers has died, aged 77.
The Nottinghamshire resident found fame in the 2009 series of the ITV competition and he reached the semi-finals with his breakdance routine.
He passed away in hospital on Monday (November 12), after suffering from poor health in recent months.
Fred’s best friend Billy Johnson told This Is Leicestershire: “Fred never really recovered from having a stroke earlier this year.
“He was standing at the bus stop in his village when he just collapsed. It hit him hard and he lost his sight.
“He was never the same again after that and was rather unwell for the last few months of his life. I saw him on Sunday and he looked as good as he had for a long time.
“But I got a call from the hospital on Monday morning asking me to go along as he had taken a turn for the worse. Sadly, Fred died before I could get there. That was really upsetting as I did not want him to be alone at that time.”
Billy also explained that Fred had been left on the steps of an orphanage as a baby and later joined the army before working at a clothing factory for 35 years.
He added: “Fred lived in Kegworth for a year then moved to Sutton Bonington. I met him in the pub and we became firm friends.
“He was a great bloke but had quite a sad life. He is a character who will be sadly missed.”
Fred was put through to the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, and he finished in fifth place out of eight acts in his heat.
Following his TV appearances, he forged himself a career on the club circuit, performing his act to crowds at bars and clubs around the country.
Ray Robinson, manager of Loughborough’s Vice Versa club, said: “People warmed to his style, his energy and his positive can-do attitude. Fred really was a legend.
“Everyone knew him and everyone loved him!”
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