Sean Lock death: How comic discovered cancer after a one-night stand 30 years ago before becoming a household name

SEAN Lock tragically died from cancer today aged 58.

He was first diagnosed with a skin melanoma in 1990 – after a one-night stand saved his life.

Lock had only been dabbling in comedy for a couple of years when a woman, known simply as “Tina”, spotted “something weird” on his back.

“I asked her what it looked like and she said it was a patch of skin which was black, misshapen, with a crusty texture and about the size of a 10p piece,” Lock told the Daily Mail in 2010.

His GP referred him immediately to a dermatologist who confirmed the suspect skin was in fact a malignant melanoma.

Medics successfully removed the cancer – but warned that it would have almost certainly spread if it had been spotted later.

“'I never saw Tina again, but if I happen to bump into her, the first thing I'll tell her is that she saved my life,” Lock added.

The Woking-born comic ditched working as a labourer and started making a living as a performer full-time the following year, in 1991.

By 1993 he was a rising star appearing on TV alongside Rob Newman and David Baddiel on Newman and Baddiel.

Lock even accompanied the duo for the first comedy show at the old Wembley Stadium.

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A rumour has persisted that Lock was the first of the three on stage and therefore the first comedian to play the historic venue, but it’s not true.

That didn’t stop Lock enjoying the myth, though.

“What I like about it is that it p***es David Baddiel off,” he told The Skinny.

“People say to him ‘Oh, so you were the second comedian to play Wembley?’”

Sitcom stardom

In 2000, Lock won the British Comedy Award for best live comic and two years later he wrote and starred in his own BBC sitcom, 15 Storeys High.

The series, co-starring Marvel actor Benedict Wong, was partly inspired by Lock’s own experiences living in tower blocks.

"I liked the fact that 15 Storeys High captured a slice of modern life – going home and having shepherds' pie," he told the Huffington Post.

But it was as a team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats and its Countdown spinoff that Lock cemented his status as one of Britain’s best-loved comics over the last 16 years.

He once told Heyuguys he didn’t think he’d have been very employable if comedy hadn’t worked out, as he was “very independently minded, I’m quite sociable but not necessarily cooperative, I’ve got no qualifications, very few skills – apart from being a smartarse”.

Not that comedy was effortless for Lock, who stressed the importance of hard graft in writing good material.

Removal men get humps on their back from carrying fridges up stairs, comedians have got their own humps they carry around with them

"I've got lines in my shows that are the result of two days waiting in my office," he once remarked.

"Everyone's deformed by the job. Removal men get humps on their back from carrying fridges up stairs, comedians have got their own humps they carry around with them.”

Lock says the funniest heckle he ever got came in 1992 as he was bombing during a set at the York Arts Centre.

He told the Guardian: “After about eight minutes of silence, some guy calmly asked: ‘What do you want?’”

So as his memorable heckler asked, what did Sean Lock want?

Exactly what he did – which was to spend his life making us laugh.

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