Published Monday, 09 June 2014
Comedian and actor Rik Mayall. (© Getty)
It is believed the star's wife found him at home in London on Monday morning.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said officers were called by London Ambulance Service to a house in Barnes, south-west London at around 1.20pm where "a man, aged in his 50s, was pronounced dead at the scene".
"The death is not believed to be suspicious," he added.
A London Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed they had been called to the house at 12:07pm.
The star shot to fame playing Rick in television series The Young Ones, alongside long-time collaborator and friend Adrian Edmondson, who he had met at Manchester University.
Mayall's career included appearances in popular television shows Blackadder, Bottom and The New Statesman.
He had also featured in a number of films including the 1991 hit Drop Dead Fred, and alongside Edmondson again in 1999 for Guest House Paradiso,
Mayall was working until recently.
Paying tribute to his friend, Edmondson said: "There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish b*****d."
Other stars of television and comedy have paid their respects, including comedian David Walliams, who said: "I am heartbroken that my comedy idol growing up, Rik Mayall, has died. He made me want to be a comedian."
Impressionist Rory Bremner said: "Awful news about Rik Mayall - a fireball of creative comic energy and inspiration. Such brilliant raw talent."
Blackadder producer John Lloyd said Mayall was "just extraordinary".
Speaking to BBC News, he said: "It's really a dreadful piece of news. I remember going to the very first night of the Comedy Store and thinking 'Where does this come from?'.
"It was the most extraordinary thing, him and Ade Edmondson doing the Dangerous Brothers, they were called, and you just felt you were in the presence of something, a whole revolutionary thing."
BBC director of television, Danny Cohen, said: "Rik Mayall was a truly brilliant comedian.
"His comic timing was outstanding and his screen presence unique. For a generation of viewers he was a true comedy hero."
In 1998, Mayall was left seriously ill after a quad bike accident which left him in a coma for several days.
Speaking about the accident last year, he said doctors had kept him alive on a life-support machine for five days and were about to turn it off when he began to show signs of life.
He used to mark the occasion by exchanging presents with his wife and three children and said the near-death experience changed his life.
He said: "The main difference between now and before my accident is I'm just very glad to be alive.
"Other people get moody in their forties and fifties - men get the male menopause. I missed the whole thing. I was just really happy."
© UTV News