Comedian Sir Harry Secombe, whose gift for the ridiculous made him one of Britain's best-loved entertainers, has died at the age of 79.

His daughter says Secombe died of cancer today at a hospital in Guilford, England.

 Secombeis best known to Britons as one of the stars of the classic Goon Show radio program.

American audiences probably remember Secombe best as the bombastic Mr. Bumble in the 1968 movie musical Oliver!

Prince Charles, a devoted fan since childhood, said he had spoken recently to Secombe in the hospital and was "deeply saddened" to hear of his death.

 Secombewas knighted in 1981 and retired from show business in 1999.