Jane McDonald's partner and The Searchers star Eddie Rothe has died after battle with lung cancer

JANE McDonald’s fiancé Eddie Rothe has died after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

In a statement, former Loose Women star Jane, 58, thanked the NHS and the hospice which cared for Eddie following his funeral today.

Jane started dating Eddie, 67, a drummer in Sixties band, The Searchers, in 2008 – over twenty years after they were first introduced.

In a statement posted online, Jane said: “It is with immense sadness that we share the news that Jane’s beloved life partner, Ed, passed away on Friday 26th March.

“He had been battling lung cancer for the last few months. We would like to thank everyone for all their help and support during this very difficult time, especially the NHS staff and the wonderful team at The Wakefield Hospice.

“The funeral took place earlier today and we would please ask for your kindness in observing Jane’s privacy for her and Ed’s family at this sad time.”

Jane first met Eddie in 1980 and the pair briefly dated before going their separate ways.

Jane and Eddie’s short-lived relationship went full circle after a chance meeting at the ITV studios in 2008.

She was on Loose Women at the time, while Eddie was a guest on This Morning.

Jane said she almost pulled out of going to say hello to her former flame, who she’d last seen face-to-face aged 18.

She recalled:  “He said, ‘Look I’ve just been through a divorce, here’s my card if you want to talk to me’.”

“I couldn’t wait.I ran home from Loose Women, I couldn’t wait to talk to him because a lot had happened.

“I thought what if he doesn’t know who I am, I really did. I thought he’d be like ‘Who are you?’”

Jane said the pair had initially called time on their romance in the Eighties because of Eddie’s hedonistic lifestyle.

She added: “He was really rock and roll in those days, well he still is, but he’s calmed down a lot now.”

Jane, who is best known for her Cruising series, said she fell for Eddie because he understood she was “married to the job”.

Speaking about their relationship, Jane said: “He is very funny and he makes me laugh every day.

“He also brings me a cup of tea every morning, no matter what.

“I am married to my job and that is difficult for anyone, but Ed lets me go off and do what I need to do.”

The Searchers emerged during the British Invasion of the 1960s at the same time as the Beatles and had hits including Sweets for my Sweet and Sugar and Spice.

Jane married Henrik Brixen in 1998 and he became her manager but the couple split in 2003.

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