The family of the late Teletubbies actor Simon Shelton have remembered the “beloved” performer as a man who “lived an amazing life, and achieved so much”.
“The love we have for him will live on,” said Lydia and Henry Barnes, his two eldest children.
Shelton, who was also known as Simon Barnes, played purple, handbag-carrying Teletubby Tinky Winky in the original BBC children’s series.
His body was found on 17 January in the area around Mann Island in Liverpool.
Merseyside Police said there were no suspicious circumstances relating to the death, which some reports attributed to hypothermia.
“It is with great sadness to say we lost our beloved dad last week,” said Lydia and Henry Barnes, offering thanks to “everyone for their kind messages of support”.
“We now ask that we are left to grieve in private with our family,” their statement continued.
Shelton, a father of three, had recently marked his 52nd birthday.
His niece, Emily Atack from The Inbetweeners, remembered him on Instagram as “the kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet”.
Shelton took over the role, and costume, of Tinky Winky after original actor Dave Thompson was sacked in 1997.
His co-star John Simmit, who played green Teletubby Dipsy, said he was “remembering the many good times” in a post that was retweeted by Pui Fan Lee, aka red Teletubby Po.
The actor was also remembered by Ragdoll Productions, the makers of Teletubbies, as “such a joy to work with”.
In a statement on Twitter, the production company recalled “the fun and energy that came through the screen in all of his performances as Tinky Winky”.
The original series was watched by approximately one billion children in more than 120 countries in 45 languages.