Gladiators legend Falcon – whose real name is Bernadette Hunt – has died aged 59 after battling cancer for ‘a number of years’.
The star appeared on the iconic show from its second series in 1993 and remained an integral part of the programme until it ended.
Bernadette’s death was announced by her sister’s partner Rick Jango in a statement on social media, as he paid tribute to one of ‘the loveliest people’ he knew.
Alongside the post which was shared on March 21, were photos taken of Bernadette while on Gladiators, which is what she was best known for.
The tribute read: ‘It is with great sadness that I have to tell you of my partner’s younger sister Bernadette Hunt.
Sad news: Gladiators legend Falcon – whose real name is Bernadette Hunt – has died aged 59 after being diagnosed with cancer
Icon: The star appeared on the iconic show from its second series in 1993 and remained an integral part of the programme until it ended
‘Most people will remember her as Falcon From the hit TV Show Gladiators.’
They continued: ‘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 he fight. RIP Bernie.’
They confirmed in a comment response to a tribute that the funeral would be private and family only.
Following her time on the show, Bernadette worked as a personal trainer.
Speaking about life after Gladiators, Bernadette previously told the Basingstoke Gazette: ‘I’m very happy with the work I do now and am always busy. My time is spent as a personal trainer and with my children Adam, 23, and Angel, 4.’
She also starred on ‘International Gladiators’ between 1994 and 1995.
Sad news: Bernadette’s death was announced by her sister’s partner Rick Jango in a statement on social media, as he paid tribute to one of ‘the loveliest people’ he knew
Reaction: Tributes flooded in from fans and people who knew Bernadette personally
Post Gladiators life: Following her time on the show, Bernadette worked as a personal trainer
Before starting out as a bodybuilder, Bernadette was accepted into the London Contemporary Ballet School at the age of 18.
However her dreams of becoming a ballet dancer were crushed when she suffered a back injury which put a stop to her plans.
After beginning her bodybuilding journey, Bernadette won the first competition she entered, Miss Natural Health in 1992.
She went on to win other titles including Miss Novice Britain, Miss London and Home Countries 1992 and Miss South Britain.
Gladiators made household names of the titular competitors, who included Falcon, Jet (Diane Youdale), Wolf (Michael Van Wijk), Cobra (Michael Willson) and Lightning (Kim Betts) among many others, and was presented by likes of Ulrika Jonsson, John Fashanu and Jeremy Guscott.
The show aired on ITV from 1992 until 2000, but the BBC have since confirmed they are reviving the show.
Speaking in August, Kate Phillips, Director of Unscripted at the BBC, said: ”Gladiators’ is back and a whole new generation of viewers can now look forward to watching a Saturday night spectacle like no other.
‘Will the contenders have the will and the skill to succeed against our mighty new Gladiators? You’ll have to tune in to find out!’
In 2008, the show was resurrected for two seasons on Sky One, including three episodes that saw the new generation of Gladiators go up against some of the original line-up.
International editions have also sprung up in countries such as Australia, the United States, Finland and South Africa.