Tributes to Fred Bowers, break-dancing OAP from Britain's Got Talent
A break-dancing pensioner who appeared on Britain's Got Talent has died, aged 77.
Fred Bowers, who lived in Sutton Bonington, near Loughborough, amazed millions of viewers with his moves when he appeared on the show in 2009.
He was also a cult figure on the dancefloors of nightclubs in his hometown.
He passed away in hospital on Monday, after being unwell for several months.
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Best friend Billy Johnson, 38, of Zouch, Nottinghamshire, said: "Fred never really recovered from having a stroke earlier this year.
"He was standing at the bus stop in his village when he just collapsed. It hit him hard and he lost his sight.
"He was never the same again after that and was rather unwell for the last few months of his life. I saw him on Sunday and he looked as good as he had for a long time.
"But I got a call from the hospital on Monday morning asking me to go along as he had taken a turn for the worse. Sadly, Fred died before I could get there. That was really upsetting as I did not want him to be alone at that time."
Mr Johnson said Fred had been left on the steps of an orphanage as a baby. He joined the Army then worked at a clothing factory for 35 years.
Mr Johnson said: "Fred lived in Kegworth for a year then moved to Sutton Bonington.
"I met him in the pub and we became firm friends.
"He was a great bloke but had quite a sad life. He is a character who will be sadly missed."
Fred made it through to the semi-final of the hit ITV show.
However, his appearance caused controversy when it emerged he was claiming disability benefits.
A Department of Work and Pensions found he was claiming £70 a week in disability benefits for a bad leg and nearly £50 a month from the Government-funded Motability scheme to pay for a car.
It was decided he did not meet the criteria for Motability and that £70 a week was too much for his disability allowance.
He was told to pay back £10.80 a week from his pension.
Fred always maintained his innocence of fraud. At the time, he told the Mercury: "I was overpaid but it was a mistake by the social. I would never do anything dishonest."
Despite the controversy, Fred was still a "legend" to fans and continued to make personal appearances in clubs after his stint on the show. He had 5,052 friends on his Facebook site, while there was also a site dedicated to him, describing him as "The Legend We All Love".
Paying tribute, Ray Robinson, manager and DJ at the Vice Versa club, in Loughborough, said: "People warmed to his style, his energy and his positive can-do attitude. Fred really was a legend.
"Everyone knew him and everyone loved him."
Pamela Gormley, Fred's neighbour, said she was saddened to hear of his death.
She said: "I thought he was doing well for a man of his age."