Britney Spears has paid tribute to US TV personality Ed McMahon, saying he was responsible for her rise to stardom.
Ed, who died on Tuesday aged 86 after a long illness, hosted Star Search – the show that Britney appeared on as a child.
Britney posted on her Twitter website: “I am deeply saddened by (the) news about Ed McMahon. He is responsible for giving so many artists their first shot including myself.”
She continued: “He was a wonderful man and will be greatly missed.”
The Tonight Show host Conan O’Brien also paid tribute to the TV host as a “truly funny man” whose partnership with Johnny Carson on the late-night programme was an indelible part of TV history.
“It is impossible, I think, for anyone to imagine The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson without Ed McMahon,” Conan said during the NBC show.
“Ed’s laugh was really the soundtrack to that show. For 30 years Ed played his part perfectly, he played it with effortless joy,” added O’Brien, who took over the show from Jay Leno this month.
Sitting alongside Carson, O’Brien said McMahon was part of “the most iconic two-shot in broadcasting history. There will never be anything like that again”.