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Paul Henry's mother and 'best friend' Olive dies after long illness

A representative for Paul confirmed the sad news on his official Facebook page.

Paul Henry's beloved mother Olive, who he often described as his "best friend," has died this week aged 86.

A representative of the TV presenter took to his official Facebook account to share the sad news, writing:

"After a long illness, Paul Henry's lovely Mum Olive Mary Christine Hopes has passed away this afternoon.

"Paul and Olive had a truly remarkable bond. He inherited her cheeky and mischievous nature - and they completely and utterly adored each other. The audience of all of Paul's shows knew her as a real character and the interactions between mother and son were just so enjoyable - Paul loved teasing Olive... and Olive loved him doing it.

"Paul would often speak about her being in the "home for the bewildered" and make fun of her playing bocce. Olive would take everything in good humour - giggling with her contagious laugh and pretending to tell him off in her with cries of "Oh Paul", her voice bursting with pride.

"New Zealanders really fell in love with Olive when she decided to leap off the Sky Tower to mark her 79th birthday. Of course, her son documented it on television. As Paul said, she took 79 years to show her daredevil side - and the audience was just in awe of her adventurous spirit.

"Olive wasn't just Paul's mum - she was also his best friend and loved him unconditionally. Olive will be dearly missed by Paul and his three daughters, Lucy, Sophie and Bella, who were exceptionally close to their Nan."

Read more: Paul Henry talks about his special bond with mum Olive.

Paul Henry and his mum, Olive
Paul Henry and his mum, Olive

In an interview with New Zealand Woman's Weekly back in 2013, Paul and Olive opened up about their special bond - with Paul crediting his beloved mother with giving him his sense of humour.

Speaking of his mum at the time, Paul told the Weekly: "I do adore her. And I’m very proud... oh, you know that Mum. I’ve told you that a million times.”

Olive warmed the hearts of the nation when she agreed to jump off the Sky Tower to mark her 79th birthday, which was televised, with Paul telling her once again: "I'm very proud of you."

There were many questions about Paul's whereabouts on Monday morning, after he failed to appear on the final Monday of his show. The star later confirmed he was at his mother's side, as she was "gravely ill."

Later on Monday he confirmed Olive had passed away, and posted a tribute video in her honour - which you can view here.

Back in October, Henry was forced to leave his professional obligations behind as he attended her hospital bedside, with his daughter Bella sharing a touching video of Paul tucking his mum into her hospital bed.

A few weeks ago, the make-up artist also posted a picture of her and her "trooper," telling her nan to get better soon.