CILLA Black died of a stroke after falling and hitting her head at her Spanish villa.
The singing and TV star was sunbathing at her villa on the Costa del Sol, when she lost her balance, fell, hit her head which knocked her unconscious.
A post-mortem revealed that she subsequently died of a stroke, a statement from her publicist said. She would not have suffered, it added.
In a joint statement her three sons Robert, Ben and Jack said: “We are devastated by the sad loss of our mother, but have been deeply touched by all the kind messages of support from her friends, fans, the public and media.
“We would like to thank everyone, especially the people of Liverpool. The tributes and condolences have really helped us through these difficult times.
“The Spanish authorities have now told us we are able to bring mum home, which we hope to do as quickly as possible.
“We would also like to thank all those involved for their assistance with this matter. We respectfully request for our continued privacy to grieve.”
The development came after a friend, Terry McCann, told the BBC he “wasn’t surprised” to find out Black had died.
He said the last time he spoke to her she told him she was going blind and had arthritis.
Mr McCann told the BBC: “She willed herself to die. She said, ‘Bobby’s waiting for me’.
“Her mother went the same way. I don’t know what her mother died of but it seemed she associated it with her mother’s death and she just knew it was going to happen.
“She just said, ‘Look at me, I’m a wreck’. I was trying to cheer her up.
“She knew something we didn’t. She knew she was going to die and she said she wasn’t going to linger like her mother.
“Her mother was ill for two years and she had the same complaint and she said she was never going to linger like that.”
The Official Charts company revealed Anyone Who Had a Heart jumped 32 places overnight, to put it at spot number 59.
Black’s album has climbed forty-three places to position number 25 on the charts.
Tributes have poured in for Black, 72, led by friends such as Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Paul McCartney and Christopher Biggins.
She rose to fame in the 1960s as an associate of The Beatles and their manager Brian Epstein.
Born Priscilla Maria Veronica White in Liverpool, she became the first woman to have her own prime-time chat show on BBC1.
Her star continued to shine brightly and she had two number ones in 1964 - Anyone Who Had A Heart and You’re My World.
In a touching tribute, Sir Cliff said he was due to visit her in Spain next week.
“Her passing away is a particular shock because despite the aches and pains we all suffer, she was always so upbeat,” he wrote in The Sun.
Sir Paul paid tribute to her from Los Angeles, saying: “Such a shock to hear about Cilla’s passing. She was a lovely girl who infected everyone with her great spirit.
“From first meeting her as a cloakroom girl at the Cavern in Liverpool, to seeing her many times since, she always had a fun-loving dignity that made her a great pleasure to be around.
“She had a fine, distinctive voice and was always a bit of a laugh. It was a privilege to know and love her.”
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr said: “I just heard the news Cilla Black has left us. She was a good friend, we will all miss her. Peace to Cilla, peace and love to the family, R&B.”
EastEnders star Barbara Windsor described Black’s death as “awful”.
She told the BBC: “I was only with her a couple of weeks ago. I’ve seen her twice in the last few weeks, and as always she looked immaculate. That was the thing about Cilla, she always looked spot-on. But I knew she wasn’t very well, she didn’t seem well.”
Windsor added: “I liked her, we got on well. She was nothing like me in personality at all, but she was a good, good all-round performer.”