Rolf Harris has died aged 93.
Harris died on Tuesday following a long fight with throat cancer, according to a registrar at Maidenhead Town Hall.
In a statement, his family added, ‘[Harris] died peacefully surrounded by family and friends and has now been laid to rest.’
Harris was released from jail five years ago and resided in Berkshire with his wife of more than 60 years, Alwen Hughes, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Harris was reportedly ‘gravely ill’ and unable to eat in October, necessitating the presence of caretakers at his house.
His health has reportedly deteriorated since the loss of his pet poodle earlier this year.
He was also said to have been hospitalised during his stay in prison after his diabetes became uncontrollable.
Harris was freed from prison in May 2017 after completing three years of his five-year, nine-month sentence for sexual assault on 12 charges, one of which was subsequently reversed.
He has not spoken publicly since his release from prison, but he did make a statement in William Merritt’s book, Rolf Harris: The Defence Team’s Special Investigator Reveals the Truth Behind the Trials.
Harris said in the statement: ‘I understand we live in the post truth era and know few will want to know what really happened during the three criminal trials I faced – it’s easier to condemn me and liken me to people like [Jimmy] Saville and [Gary] Glitter.
‘I was convicted of offences I did not commit in my first trial. That is not just my view but the view of the Court of Appeal who overturned one of my convictions. I had already served the prison sentence by the time of the appeal.
‘I changed my legal team after the first trial, and I was told that if the truth was out there, William [Merritt] would find it and he did. The evidence he found proved my innocence to two subsequent juries.
‘I’d be in prison serving a sentence for crimes I did not commit if it were not for William’s investigation. It is difficult to put into words the injustice that I feel.’
The Australian-born performer has been a musician, singer-songwriter, composer, comedian, actor, painter, and television personality for decades.
Throughout his career, he was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (in 1968), then an Officer in 1977, then a Commander in 2006, and he memorably painted a portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2005.
In the United Kingdom, Harris is likely best recognised for his work on animal television shows, particularly his long-running BBC series Animal Hospital.
Following his arrest, he was quickly pulled from Animal Clinic, and it was established that he would not return to the Channel 5 series.
Ben Fogle took Harris’ position.
Harris released 30 studio albums and 48 singles throughout his lifetime, with his 1960 song Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport hitting number one in Australia.
Harris’ song Two Little Boys went to number one in the UK and Ireland nine years later.
In May 2013, after the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal emerged, Harris was one of 12 persons detained and questioned for the first time about past claims of sexual assaults.
While denying any involvement and being freed on bond without charge, he was detained again in August and charged with nine charges of indecent assault dating back to the 1980s.
These featured two females aged 14 to 16, as well as four counts charging the creation of obscene child photographs in 2012.
The Crown Prosecution Service stated Harris was facing three more counts of sexual assault in December of the same year.
The fresh accusations involved alleged assaults on girls aged nineteen in 1984, seven or eight in 1968 or 1969, and fourteen in 1975.
Harris pled not guilty to all of the accusations at a subsequent hearing at Southwark Crown Court in January 2014.
Following the trial’s delays, which included the judge’s summing-up of the case lasting three days in and of itself, the jury deliberated for more than a week before finding him guilty on all 12 charges of indecent assault.
Harris received a total term of five years and nine months in prison in July 2014.
The judge informed Harris that he had exhibited ‘no remorse’ for his crimes at his sentencing explanation.
‘Your reputation now lies in ruins, you have been stripped of your honours but you have no one to blame but yourself,’ he said.
Harris spent his time at HM Prison Stafford for three years before being released on May 19, 2017.
A few months later, one count in which Harris was judged to have indecently assaulted an eight-year-old child in Portsmouth was overturned because it was deemed dangerous.
Although he requested permission to appeal the convictions of the three remaining females, he was denied.
In 2019, it was stated that he was a hermit who seldom left his house.