Gladiators star Falcon, whose name was Bernadette Hunt, dies aged 59

31 March 2023, 14:33 | Updated: 31 March 2023, 16:26

Falcon, whose real name was Bernadatte Hunt, dies aged 59
Falcon, whose real name was Bernadatte Hunt, dies aged 59. Picture: ITV/Shutterstock

Tributes have been paid to the ballerina-turned-body builder, who has sadly passed away after losing her battle with cancer.

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Bernadette Hunt, who was known as the Gladiator, Falcon has died at age 59.

The news was shared by her brother-in-law, Rick Jango, on a Facebook page celebrating showbiz from days gone by.He wrote: "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 most 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.

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

Hunt's sister, Carol, also commented, writing: "My beautiful sister was the best kind of human being on this earth."

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Suzanne Cox, who was Gladiator Vogue, wrote: "I found out a few days ago."

A statement on the Gladiators website said Hunt was "the most lovely, warm, generous person with a beaming smile", adding: "Our Gladiator family is truly heartbroken with our loss of Bernie."

Since working on Gladiators, she had left the world of TV and became a personal trainer, holding classes at Basingstoke Sports Centre.

Hunt had said in previous interviews that she had turned down the chance to appear in a Gladiators series reboot, preferring instead to "keep a low profile".

Broadcast from 1992 to 2000, at its peak Gladiators drew huge audiences to its Saturday evening ITV slot. It was revived on Sky One in 2008, and a second reboot is set to come to the BBC later this year.

She had fallen into the world of TV somewhat by accident after her plans to become a ballerina were crushed due to a back injury.

She went on to train as an aerobics teacher, before discovering the world of bodybuilding, and quickly winning several titles.Hunt had previously been involved in fundraising for both Help the Aged and Children with Leukaemia.

Her brother-in-law said her funeral will be a private affair, attended by family only.

Hunt leaves behind two children, her husband Mark, son Adam, and young daughter Angel.