‘So much more than Tinky Winky’
TELETUBBIES star Simon Barnes' niece has paid tribute to the actor after he "froze to death" - saying he was "more than Tinky Winky".
The 52-year-old is said to have collapsed and died in the street last week from hypothermia as temperatures plummeted across the UK, reports The Sun.
His baker niece Molly Robbins today posted heartwarming photos of her uncle as she paid tribute to him on Facebook.
"Beautiful messages flooding in after the loss of our brilliant uncle Simon," she said.
"He was so much more than Tinky Winky to us, but how incredible that his talent will continue to entertain young children for years to come.
"We all loved him so much."
It comes after Barnes' make up artist daughter Lydia released a heartbreaking tribute to her trained ballet dancer and choreographer dad.
She said: "I love you so much Dad ... always have, always will. The most beautiful man in the world.
"Forever in my heart."
Barnes took on the role of purple Teletubby Tinky Winky - known for carrying a magic handbag - between 1998 and 2001.
He once said being in the Teletubbies was "a bit like the Beatles or Take That of television".
Barnes was not the first actor to play the role. original actor Dave Thompson left the show in 1997 after being told his "interpretation of the role was not acceptable".
This story was originally published in The Sun and is reprinted with permission.