Comedian Rory Bremner led tributes to his “father figure” John Fortune, who has died at the age of 74.
Fortune – who found fame on Bremner, Bird and Fortune – died peacefully after being ill for “quite a while”.
Bremner said: “He was, first and foremost a lovely man. He was very well read, a very literary man.
“He was very much a father figure and a mentor to me.”
Fortune’s agent Vivienne Clore said the veteran satire comic died with his wife, Emma, and dog, Grizelle, at his bedside.
In a statement, she said: “It is with great sadness that I write of the death of John Fortune this morning aged 74.
“He is survived by his adored wife, Emma, and three children.”
Fortune, who recently suffered a stroke, met his comedy partner John Bird in the 1960s when they were at Cambridge.
The pair became household names for The Long Johns sketches in which the double-act made witty characterisations of bumbling politicians, military figures and businessmen.
Bremner said his old friend had been satirising subjects such as the banking crisis and public utilities long before they were at forefront of pubic consciousness.
“He was satirising them better and earlier than anybody else, and I think he caught the spirit of that age just brilliantly,” he said.“To my mind he was the best combination of intelligence and humour that I have ever met.”