CILLA Black died of a stroke after falling and hitting her head at her Spanish villa.
The confirmation came after a friend said Cilla feared age-related health problems.
The former Blind Date host, whose showbiz career spanned five decades, died at her home in Estepona near Marbella in Spain on Sunday.
Mr McCann, a close friend, said: “She willed herself to die”. She was the most remarkable woman, a true legend, ‘ she wrote.
She later helped Paul through the loss of his partner of 25 years, Brendan Murphy, in 2012.
“A lot of people were shouting and calling out to her and she just shouted back”.
He said: “We were related – my grandfather, William Blythen, was the brother of her grandfather, Joseph Blythen”.
Investigators are now looking into whether her collapse was caused by a dizzy spell – perhaps from the heat.
But to the army of fans who packed into the hall to see Cilla share a stage with Gerry and the Pacemakers, she was already a star.
The singer and TV presenter’s sons Robert, Ben and Jack Willis have now been given permission to return Cilla’s body to the UK as soon as possible for her funeral.
Black took her first steps into the entertainment industry when she gained a part-time job as a cloakroom attendant at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, best known for its connection with the Beatles.
The Liverpool-born star shot to fame in the 1960s with the Number One singles Anyone Who Had A Heart and You’re My World.
In a touching tribute, Richard said he was due to visit her next week.
A spokeswoman for Andalucia’s high court of justice, which is overseeing a probe into the singer’s death, has now told The Guardian newspaper that officials are looking into the theory that Black may have suffered an accident which led to her death.
“She had a brilliant character and everyone loved her”, he said. “She will always be with me”.
EastEnders star Barbara Windsor described Black’s death as “awful”.
He told BBC News: “I wasn’t surprised when I found out she had died. But I knew she wasn’t very well, she didn’t seem well”.
“I liked her, we got on well”.