Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77, 5 years after dementia diagnosis

Jones' wife and three children said they had lost "a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man."
Image: Terry Jones attends a screening of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in New York in 2015.
Terry Jones attends a screening of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in New York in 2015.Andy Kropa / Invision / AP file

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By Patrick Smith

LONDON — Monty Python star Terry Jones has died at the age of 77, his family said in a statement Wednesday. The actor, comedy writer, director and author was diagnosed with dementia in 2015.

Actor and writer Terry Jones at a script conference for "Monty Python's Flying Circus" in 1974.Chris Ridley / Radio Times via Getty Images file

Jones' wife and three children said they had lost "a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humor has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades.”

Michael Palin, Jones' fellow Python, told the U.K. news agency Press Association: "He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation, he was the complete Renaissance comedian — writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children’s author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have."

Another Python Eric Idle wrote on Twitter: "It’s too sad if you knew him, but if you didn’t you will always smile at the many wonderfully funny moments he gave us."

Fellow comedy stars and writers including Stephen Fry, Neil Gaiman and "The Usual Suspects" screenwriter Chris McQuarrie led tributes to Jones Wednesday.

Born in Wales, Jones was a central part of Monty Python's anarchic brand of comedy as seen on the eponymous TV show in the early 1970s as both a writer and performer.

Jones was regarded as an accomplished director, co-directing perhaps the group's best-known movie, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" alongside Terry Gilliam. He was the sole director on 1979s "Life of Brian" and "Monty Python's Meaning of Life" in 1983.

He wrote and directed a long list of TV and film projects after the Pythons, including the 1989 movie "Erik the Viking," starring Tim Robbins and Mickey Rooney, and wrote a series of books.

Jones received the BAFTA Award for Outstanding Contribution to TV in 2016, when he took to the stage accompanied by his son, who gave the acceptance speech on his behalf.