Britain's Got Talent semi-finalist and star Antonio 'Popeye' Francis dies at 54: Reports

Antonio 'Popeye' Francis, who was one of the semi-finalists and most entertaining contestants at the British talent show Britain's Got Talent, has died at the age of 54

                            Britain's Got Talent semi-finalist and star Antonio 'Popeye' Francis dies at 54: Reports
(Source:Getty Images)

According to a report, Antonio 'Popeye' Francis, a semi-finalist and one of the most entertaining contestants on the talent show Britain's Got Talent, has died at the age of 54 after suffering a stroke. His claim to fame was his 2011 semi-final performance where he popped out his eyeballs to the beat of the music.

According to reports, the charismatic performer passed away on Saturday after a long illness,  his family confirmed. He will be remembered as one of the most captivating stars on the popular talent show, especially after he revealed to the judges how his weird eyeball-popping talent "created one night stands".

His family put out a message suggesting that Antonio, who briefly moved to Barbados before returning to Britain, fought a number of health battles in the years after his appearance on the show. His son, Dan Francis, who was also a contestant on the BGT, said: "A week ago a family friend found him in his room on the floor unconscious where he had a stroke."

"What's crazy is he was there for at least six days so he'd survived for at least six days before we got him into the hospital and for the first two days he was breathing by himself. This morning we woke up and I saw him take his last breath and then he stopped breathing."

The family is currently trying to raise money to go forward with Antonio's funeral in Barbados, as per his wishes. Dan explained: "One of my dad's wishes, which he's been saying for the last two years' 'if I pass I want to be buried in Barbados' and that's going to cost a crazy amount of money so what we're doing is we're going to try and raise as much money as possible."

He then added, "If we can get enough then we will send him to Barbados... We would love to bury his body in Barbados."

According to The Sun, Antonio suffered a minor stroke, memory loss, high blood pressure, heart failure and other organ issues before his death. The performer also had to undergo a lot of problems due to his declining health, and there was a point before his death where he ended up sleeping rough after coming back to London following trips to visit his sick grandmother.

Dan, who appeared on BGT in 2013 with his band Luminites, added: "Over the last 10 years he's been in and out of hospital 90 per cent of the time. He went back and forth from Barbados where he was staying without grandma and he started losing his memory. He randomly came back to London, we didn't know why because he had nowhere to stay so he started sleeping rough."

"We found out he was sleeping on buses at night and staying round friends houses and traveling up and down the country. We didn't really know what was wrong, because he wouldn't tell us, plus he was losing his memory. We managed to get him a temporary place in Harlow." Reports suggest that the fundraising page has already managed to reach a target of  £1,500 out of the £5,000 target on Monday, just one day after it was launched.