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The businessman, who rose to fame as the owner of the Sugar Hut nightclub on the reality show, was found dead on Thursday at his home in Bulphan, Essex.

He first appeared on The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) in 2011 during the show’s second series – and his son Kirk, 32, was part of the original cast.

Collins, James Argent, Lauren Goodger and Mario Falcone were among the current and former stars of the reality TV show who paid tribute to the “Essex legend”.

Collins, 39, shared a photo of them together on Instagram alongside a touching tribute to Norcross.

She wrote: “ALWAYS A GENTLEMAN. absolutely shocked and saddened by the news. my thoughts and prayers are going out to Kirk family and friends absolutely tragic.

“The memories of the early days the sugar hut and the wonderful filming parties you put on will never be forgotten. you never know what someone is going through you was one of the good guys.”

The pair briefly dated during their time on the show.

Argent, 33, said on Twitter: “A true gentleman & a very kind man! RIP Mick. Many amazing memories, So Sad! My thoughts are with his family.”

Goodger, 34, an original cast member on TOWIE, shared a series of heartbreak emojis in response to the news.

Falcone, 32, wrote on Twitter: “RIP my friend. You were the perfect gentlemen and I am thankful I got the privilege of having you in my life.”

In a tweet, boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, 41, described Norcross as “a gentleman”.

TV chef James Martin, 48, said: “I have just heard the awful news of Michael Norcross.

“A true gentleman, who I had the pleasure to meet and spend evenings with over the years…so sad and my thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.”

Loose Women’s Denise Welch, presenter Denise Van Outen and film producer Jonathan Sothcott also remembered him in messages posted online.

Norcross’ Sugar Hut club confirmed the news on its official Twitter account. It said in statement: “So sad to hear the news today of the passing of Mr Sugarhut [Norcross].

“A very talented, friendly and fun guy, who made a huge mark on Brentwood.

“A true Essex legend who will be sorely missed, our condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.”

Essex Police said in a statement: “We were called to an address in Brentwood Road, Bulphan shortly before 3.15pm on Thursday 21 January. Sadly, a man inside was pronounced dead.

“His death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.”

Norcross was introduced to TOWIE as the owner of the Sugar Hut nightclub, the site of many of the programme’s famous arguments between cast members.

He left the show in 2013 saying the venue’s prominent place in the show had damaged its brand.

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