Gorden Kaye's family has revealed the 'Allo 'Allo star died after a two year battle with dementia.
His cousin's husband Raymond Shuttleworth revealed the family's heartbreak to the Mirror , saying they had visited Gorden, 75, in a care home two weeks before his death on Monday - but he didn't recognise them any more.
Raymond said: "He didn’t even recognise himself. Gorden was sat up and talking but he didn’t know us any more, he was saying all sorts of things but it didn’t mean anything. He was in his own little world.”
But Raymond paid tribute to the nursing home in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, saying: “He had amazing staff looking after him, they have been incredible”.
Retired college lecturer Raymond, 86, said Gorden, who grew up in Moldgreen , had become isolated and very lonely - despite being loved by millions of fans.
“He had no brothers or sisters, just a few cousins. He never married and was a lone survivor till the end.
"It was just a case of surviving and he was very lonely. That is all very sad.”
Raymond praised his famous relative as “a brilliant actor, a comic genius, who brought a lot of joy to many people. He is still making people laugh today.”
Kaye was best known for his role as Rene Artois in the 1980s BBC sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo! which made light of the Nazi occupation of France.
BAFTA nominated, he also appeared in Last of the Summer Wine, Are You Being Served?, Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
Raymond added: “He always appreciated his fans saying ‘They’re my bread and butter’ and he always stopped to sign autographs in the street.”
Gorden, an only child, had described himself as a “shy, gay and overweight boy.”
Raymond and grief-stricken wife Sheila, 84, from Coalville, Leics, are now busy planning the actor’s funeral in Huddersfield.
They hope his former co-stars including Vicki Michelle will attend.
She posted on Twitter: “So sad to hear news of Gorden Kaye. Brilliantly talented, a consummate professional, loved the world over. There’ll never be another Rene.”
Raymond, a father of two, said many of Gorden’s friends from London rarely visited him once he was in a care home.
He said: “Just one or two but not recently, they just seemed to forget about him.
“Me and my wife went up when we could but we’re too old to drive and it’s difficult by train and taxi.”
Raymond told how the teetotal star, who cheated death in a horrific car crash in 1990, “smoked a bit but never touched alcohol.”
He added: “I like to remember sitting and talking to him and what a brilliant actor he was.
“Allo ‘Allo was his best role. He was in 84 episodes which have been shown across the world.
"Germany was the last country to take it. It did take the Mickey out of the Germans.”
Raymond fondly recalls being invited to screenings with Sheila: “We were in the audience a lot at one time. He did he make us laugh.
“He may have been forgotten by his acting friends but he’ll never be forgotten by us, his family, and his legions of fans."