Singer and Loose Women panellist Jane McDonald has confirmed the loss of her long-term partner Eddie Rothe

Eddie, a former drummer who was a band member in The Searchers, died at the age of 67 after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The couple first met as teenagers, when they first dated.

McDonald – who has won a BAFTA for her Channel 5 series Cruising with McDonald – praised the NHS staff who took care of Rothe at The Wakefield Hospice in the months before his death.

A statement shared on the former Loose Women star’s Twitter account said Rothe, best-known for being part of 1960s band The Searchers, had been battling the disease “for the last few months”.

He died on March 26 and the funeral took place on Wednesday.

In an emotional Tweet, a spokesperson for McDonald said: “It is with immense sadness that we share the news that Jane’s beloved long term partner, Ed, passed away on Friday 26th March.

"He had been battling lung cancer for the last few months.

“We would like to thank everyone for all their help and support during this very difficult time, especially the NHS staff and the wonderful team at The Wakefield Hospice.

“The funeral took place earlier today (April 7) and we would please ask for your kindness in observing Jane’s privacy for her and Ed’s family at this sad time.”

Were Jane McDonald and Eddie Rothe married?

McDonald and Rothe first dated as teenagers in the 1980s.

The pair rekindled their romance almost 30 years later after a chance meeting.

It happened when Rothe was on the set of This Morning while McDonald was filming Loose Women and they exchanged telephone numbers.

The pair never tied the knot but they got engaged in 2008, after Eddie proposed on Christmas Eve that year.

McDonald later wrote about their relationship in her 2019 autobiography ‘Riding The Waves: My Story’.

Who was Eddie Rothe and The Searchers?

Eddie Rothe was best-known for being a member of The Searchers, which he joined in 1998, replacing Billy Adamson as a drummer.

He was with the band for 12 years, which came after he first made his debut in the disco group Liquid Gold in the late 1970s.

McDonald had praised Rothe for helping her with her career.