Gladiator’s icon Falcon, whose real name was Bernadette Hunt, has died aged 59. Her death follows the star’s battle with cancer.
Falcon’s death was announced in a Facebook post by the partner of Falcon’s sister, Rick Jango. The news was posted in a Facebook group, alongside a picture of the Gladiators legend on the social media website.
It said: "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."
The post continued: "I had the privilege to be in her company a few times & 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 the fight R.I.P. Bernie".
Later in the comments, it was confirmed that the funeral for the TV star would be private and only family would attend. An outpouring of tributes from fans followed the tribute.
One wrote: "Such sad news.She was the loveliest person RIP Bernie".Another added: "Oh I’m so sad to hear this. Bernie was just the loveliest person. So warm and friendly. Please send my love and condolences to the family. Xx"
"So sorry to hear this. Bernie was an absolute gem and one of the most giving people you could meet. Condolences to the family. A sad day RIP," a third wrote.
Another added: "Absolutely heartbroken to hear that Bernie has died. When I arrived in Basingstoke I joined the gym and she was the lady that did my induction, and became a friend. She ALWAYS made everyone feel amazing, she knew everyone’s name, she made it so personal and the world just got a little colder without her warmth".
When did Bernadette join Gladiators?
Bernadette joined Gladiators during the second series in 1993 and became known by fans as the ‘nicest’ Gladiator. Falcon remained a core part of the show until 1999.
She made several appearances on International Gladiators between 1994 and 1995. Following her TV career, Bernadette worked as a fitness instructor in Basingstoke, according to reports.
Bernadette had many talents as it was previously reported she was accepted into the London Contemporary Ballet School when she was 18. However, a back injury meant that her career took a different course.
Instead, Bernadette took on body building and won the first competition she entered – Miss Natural Health in 1992. Following this, she won other titles including Miss Novice Britain, Miss London, Home Countries and Miss South Britain.