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Zoe Ball breaks Instagram silence following shock death of boyfriend

Gemma Strong

Zoe Ball has paid a simple but beautiful tribute to her boyfriend Billy Yates, following his tragic death on Thursday night. The heartbroken star took to Instagram to share a close-up photograph of a pink flower, writing alongside: "My sweet love X." She was quickly inundated with comments as fans expressed their shock and offered their condolences. "Just heard the news. I'm so sorry," one wrote. Another added: "So so sorry Zoe. One of the funniest guys I've had the pleasure of knowing. The world is a sadder place today. Love and hugs."

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'My sweet love X," Zoe Ball wrote in her Instagram tribute to boyfriend Billy Yates

On Friday lunchtime, news broke that Billy – a cameraman for The Antiques Roadshow – had passed away at the age of 40. A friend told the Sun that It Takes Two star Zoe was overwhelmed with grief. "She is completely and utterly devastated," the source said. "Billy had made her happy again after the most horrendous year when her marriage broke down. This was completely out of the blue. She had no feeling that this was coming and is in total shock.

"As far as we know this occurred at his house in London and it was friends who raised the alarm. She's going to need a lot of time to grieve. This just feels so unfair because Zoe had finally found happiness with Billy and had so many exciting plans for their future. It's devastating. There's nothing else other than devastation today."

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