Ruth Pearson, one of the founding members of Top Of The Pops dance troupe Pan’s People, has died at the age of 70, her publicist said.
Pearson, who formed the group with Flick Colby, Babs Lord, Louise Clarke, Dee Dee Wilde and Andi Rutherford in 1966, died on Tuesday morning following a battle with cancer.
Her publicist, Philip Day, called her a “sheer joy” to have worked with, adding she was “loved by everyone she was ever associated with”.
Before forming Pan’s People in the mid-60s, Pearson was a member of The Beat Girls.
Wilde called Pearson the “best friend one could ever have”.
She added: “She had a wicked sense of humour, ‘joie de vivre’ by the bucket loads and, when partying, never let the side down by having one drink too few.
Lord said she had met up with Pearson and Wilde last week for lunch.
She said: “Afterwards, Ruth insisted we went back to her home in Wimbledon to enjoy a glass of champagne and a slice of cake … a wonderful lasting memory of a brave and inspiring lady.
“She put up such a brave fight even knowing that her illness was terminal … she said that she would have loved a little longer, but had no complaints.
“Wherever you are Ruth, I feel sure you will have joined Flick, Louise and Andy … dancing with Pan among the stars.”
The dance troupe provided the visual entertainment when an artist could not appear on the BBC chart show and became a staple of 1960s and 1970s TOTP.
They last appeared on the programme in April 1976, dancing to Silver Star by The Four Seasons.