Singer Kathy Kirby dies aged 72

Kathy Kirby With her blonde good looks, Kirby was often compared to Marilyn Monroe

Singer Kathy Kirby, best known for her cover version of Secret Love in 1963, has died aged 72.

She will also be remembered for representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest with I Belong, coming second to Luxembourg.

During her career, Kirby had two top 10 hits and three other singles in the top 40.

In a statement, her family said the star passed away on Thursday night after suffering from a short illness.

"She will be greatly missed by her family and her many friends who have stood loyal over the years," the statement said.

Born in Essex, the star began her career working with bandleader Bert Ambrose who took her on the club circuit.

The blonde pin-up was often compared to Marilyn Monroe and, after securing her first record deal, went on to appear on several US TV programmes, such as The Ed Sullivan Show.

Kirby - whose niece Sarah is married to Sir Mark Thatcher - was one of the biggest stars of the early 1960s.

The singer, who lived in west London, made her last screen appearance in the early 80s, having largely withdrawn from the public eye.

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