COMEDY legend Barry Chuckle died yesterday aged 73 from a heart condition he kept secret.

Brother Brian told how Barry was warned last summer that he probably had only 12 months to live.

Barry, who with younger brother Paul starred as kids’ favourites The Chuckle Brothers, told only his family of his terminal illness — bought on by a lifetime of heavy smoking.

He kept the news from fans and friends because he wanted to keep working as long as possible.

Barry, whose real surname was Elliott, said farewell last week to Paul, 70, Brian, 83, and eldest brother Jimmy, 86, after his condition worsened.

Brian said: “We’ve known for a while Barry was very ill. “I drove up this week and saw him for two hours. We knew the end was very near. He was on morphine but we chatted. I gave him a kiss goodbye at the end. There were tears, of course.

“Up until this last year he’d been fine. But he’s been a smoker all his life. It’s been very rough. Especially keeping it from people.”

Barry died at home surrounded by his family, including wife Ann.Fellow stars yesterday paid tribute to Barry, whose slapstick routines delighted TV audiences for more than three decades.

Little Britain star David Walliams, who performed with the Chuckle Brothers in a 2013 Comic Relief sketch, said they were “dazzling talents” and “the last link to the British musical hall tradition that gave us Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin".

Comedian Jack Whitehall said: “Really sad about the passing of Barry Chuckle. I was obsessed with the Chuckle Brothers as a kid. Legends.”

Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness tweeted: “One of my favourites from childhood years, teenage years and as an adult! Gutted. Barry Chuckle RIP sir.”

Barry fell ill around Easter, one episode short of finishing Chuckle Time, the duo’s first full-time TV project in nearly a decade.

Brian said Barry stopped filming because he could not walk.

He added: “Barry did this new series and they got nearly to the end. Then he told Paul, ‘I can’t do the last one.’ His legs suddenly went. So he wasn’t able to walk.”

The Chuckle Brothers popular children’s show ChuckleVision ran for 292 episodes between 1987 and 2009.

The brothers received a special award at the Children’s Baftas in 2008.