IAC star hit by tragic loss hours after return as he issues emotional statement

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    Fred Sirieix has paid tribute to a close friend who tragically passed away while he was taking part in I'm A Celebrity.

    Sirieix, 51, was in the Australian jungle when good friend Russell Norman passed away at the age of 57. Norman, a well-respected restauranteur and author, had been battling a short illness when he died on November 23.

    Upon learning of his death just hours after touching down in London, Sirieix took to his social platforms to look back at his long-standing friendship with Norman. Fred branded Russell a "lovely man" who had worked in the culinary business for as long a time as Fred himself.

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    The maitre d' addressed his 253k followers, telling those who follow him that he had just discovered the sad news. "I have just found out about the sudden passing of Russell Norman. This is so sad," he wrote.

    "Such a lovely man and a restaurant genius like no other," he continued. "He made it look easy and so cool to open and run a restaurant."

    Fred signed off his tweet with a tribute to Russell's loved ones at this tough time. "My thoughts go to his family, RIP Russell," Fred finished, before ending the tweet with a kiss.

    The news came after the Channel 4 star became the third celebrity to be voted out of the jungle. At the end of the series, Made in Chelsea icon Sam Thompson was announced as the winner of the show, beating out controversial politician Nigel Farage and professional boxer Tony Bellew.

    It was not just Fred who offered their sympathies, however, as a number of culinary greats also paid tribute to Russell upon hearing of his passing. Son of Queen Camilla, Tom Parker-Bowles reflected on his own experience of Russell, branding him a "very beautiful and just a really good man".

    "I have so many memories of sitting with him and our friends in tiny Venetian bars, drinking Aperol spritz and talking to the people who owned the bar after all having had a good lunch. He was a great friend to so many people," Tom lamented.

    Norman is survived by his partner Dr Genevieve Verdigel and the couple's three children.

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    • Channel 4
    • ITV
    • I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here
    • Fred Sirieix

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