CELEBRITY mathematician Rachel Riley has paid an emotional tribute to the creator of daytime TV's classic game show Countdown.

Marcel Stellman, 96, sadly passed away late Sunday night - survived by his beloved wife Jean, it was announced by family.

Originally from Belgium, Stellman was a record producer and lyricist. He penned songs for stars including Petula Clark, The Shadows and Tony Bennett.

While Mr Stellman is also known for bringing the French show Des chiffres et des lettres to the UK as Countdown.

Sharing her condolences, Riley - who co-presents the Channel 4 puzzle show - took to Twitter to express her sadness at the "loss of the man who brought Countdown to the UK".

The former Southend High School for Girls pupil, continued: "Marcel was the most kind-hearted man with stories to tell from decades in the music industry working with everyone there was to work with, and all that time with lovely Jeannie.

"May his memory be a blessing."

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