Mark Wright and Joey Essex have led the tributes to former TOWIE co-star Mick Norcross after the club owner was found dead at his Essex home on Thursday afternoon, aged 57.
The Sugar Hut owner and reality star, who rose to fame as the man behind the nightclub on the hit ITV2 series, was discovered at his Bulphan home by emergency services.
Mark, who appeared on the show until 2011, has since described Mick as the ‘perfect gentlemen’ whenever they crossed paths, while a devastated Joey admitted he treated him ‘like a son.’
Speaking out: Mark Wright has paid tribute to former TOWIE co-star Mick Norcross after the club owner was found dead at his Essex home on Thursday afternoon aged 57
Appearing on Friday’s edition of Lorraine, Mark said: ‘I don’t want to talk much about it but I do want to send my condolences to the family – [Mick’s son] Kirk must be broken-hearted.
‘He was a gentleman, a nice guy, always so welcoming at his club.’
Reaching out to those who might be struggling with feelings of loneliness or depression, he added: ‘If you know anyone who is down just talk to them. If you are feeling down talk to a family member or friend.’
In a tweet shared with followers shortly after news of Mick’s death broke on Thursday evening, Mark called the businessman an ‘inspiration’ to those who knew him.
He wrote: ‘RIP Mick N. You were a great man, an inspiration to many, always so polite and welcoming. Such a gent. We lost a good one.
‘Let this be ANOTHER reason to check in on people and ask if they are ok. It’s imperative we talk. Love to Kirk and the rest of the family… such sad news.’
Stunned: Elsewhere Joey Essex admitted he was in ‘complete shock’ after learning of his co-star’s death
Shock: Joey admitted the Sugar Hut owner ‘treated him like a son’ and ‘looked out for him’ during their time together on the show
Nice guy: Mark, who appeared on the show until 2011, said Norcross was always a ‘perfect gentlemen’ whenever they crossed paths
Joey also paid tribute to Mick, admitting the Sugar Hut owner ‘looked out for him’ during their time together on the show.
He tweeted: ‘In complete shock. I looked up to Micky, you treated me like a son whilst I was on my crazy journey growing up in this industry, you looked after me & made me feel at ease if I had a problem, I’ll always remember that… My heart goes out to your family. I’m gutted, god bless.’
Elsewhere Gemma Collins echoed Mark’s sentiments, adding: ‘ALWAYS A GENTLEMAN. Absolutely shocked and saddened by the news. My thoughts and prayers are going out to Kirk family and friends absolutely tragic #ripmicknorcross
‘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 [sic] one of the good guys.’
Old friends: Joey featured regularly alongside Mick on the popular show (pictured together in 2011)
Tragic: Gemma Collins shared a photo on Instagram with the caption, ‘ALWAYS A GENTLEMAN. Absolutely shocked and saddened by the news’
Well loved: Tributes from the property developer’s TOWIE co-stars and celebrity friends were soon posted on Mick’s heartbreaking final tweet
TOWIE veteran James Argent called the property developer: ‘A true gentleman & a very kind man’. James, 33, wrote: ‘RIP Mick. Many amazing memories, So Sad! My thoughts are with his family.’
Mario Falcone, who starred on the show between 2011 to 2018 posted a broken heart emoji, as did Elliott Wright, who appeared on TOWIE between 2010 and 2017.
Jamie Reed, who had a brief stint on the reality series, chimed: ‘Very sad. RIP’.
EOTB star Jess Impiazzi, who was one of Mick’s original ‘Sugar Hut Honeys’ – a group of hostesses in the club – typed: ‘Please don’t ever feel like no one is there or wants to listen, you matter! You’re loved!…And the world is better with you in it. There is always light at the end of the tunnel! I promise.’
Frankie Essex added: ‘Rest in peace Mick thank you for all the memories and being such a genuine person… you will be sadly missed.’
While Charlie King wrote: ‘It’s a really sad evening …… another stark reminder you really don’t know what battles people are struggling to defeat. Pretty gutted tbh ! Sleep well in the knowledge Mick you are a true gentleman.’
TOWIE narrator Denise Van Outen wrote: ‘RIP @micky_norcross such a lovely man. So sad… my thoughts are with his family.’
Heartbreaking: TOWIE’s Mick was seen beaming next to his son Kirk in his haunting final picture, taken three weeks before he was found dead
Devastating loss: Dozens of Mick’s celebrity pals shared their heartache on social media
In a haunting final tweet, posted just hours before his body was found, Mick wrote: ‘At the end remind yourself that you did the best you could. And that is good enough.’
On January 4, son Kirk, 32, shared a selfie on Facebook showing him sitting alongside his grinning father, adding the caption: ‘Me and the big man’, with a heart emoji.
On Thursday, Mick sent shockwaves around the TV world when news arose of his passing, and while Kirk has so far remained silent, the haunting last picture has emerged.
Moving: The tributes continued to flood in as news of Mick’s death broke on Thursday evening
As well as pictures with Kirk, Mick’s girlfriend Samantha Keahey shared a number of shots of the couple last year, including sweet images taken last month.
Mick is survived by his sons Kirk, Mason, Daniel and daughter Hollie. He also has three grandchildren. The star made his TOWIE debut in 2011 during the show’s second season, while son Kirk was part of the original cast.
The businessman was introduced as the owner of Sugar Hut, a nightclub in Brentwood which was a popular filming location for the show. During his time on the show, Mick caught the attention of Gemma Collins, 39, who soon developed a crush on him.
One of his most notable storylines was when, at a pool party for the second series finale, Gemma was convinced Mick was bringing a bottle of champagne over to her, but was instead snubbed when the Sugar Hut owner walked past her and presented the bubbly to Lauren Goodger’s sister Nicola.
Heartbreaking: As well as pictures with Kirk, Mick’s girlfriend Samantha Keahey shared a number of shots of the couple, including sweet images taken last month
Tragic: Mick haunting last tweet, posted on Thursday morning at 7.17am, read: ‘At the end remind yourself that you did the best you could. And that is good enough.’
Starring role: The Sugar Hut owner and reality star rose to fame as the man behind the nightclub on the hit ITV2 series
Heartbreaking: Mick is pictured with his girlfriend Samantha Keahey
Concern: Police outside the home of Mick Norcross on Thursday evening, after the TOWIE star was found dead earlier in the afternoon
In an episode of the programme from 2011, Mick referenced his mental health in a conversation with Kirk, saying: ‘Maybe there’s bits of my life where I haven’t been there for you so it’s hard for me to see where I’m going wrong…
‘I wasn’t there enough for you growing up but I want you to know I’m here for you now. I want to do the things we didn’t do and still can do. I’m quite a hard person and it’s difficult for me to show my emotions and that’s not me making an excuses and it doesn’t mean I don’t love you and I don’t want you around me…
‘I just put this hard exterior up sometimes. Any time you get upset let’s not end up having a shouting match over it. Talk to me. With women, that’s where I push buttons. Unfortunately in what I do, I am surrounded by women from 20 years of age to 35 years of age.’
When Kirk voiced concerns over women taking advantage of Mick, he went on: ‘Really Kirk it’s not your decision, with me you might think I’m having a great time and that but every night I come to this house on my own, I live on my own, it’s empty, it’s nothing.’
Mick and Kirk are pictured in a promo shot for 2011’s third season of TOWIE
Mick Norcross’ TOWIE moments
MARCH 2011: Mick makes his TOWIE entrance, when Kirk attempts to set Gemma Collins up with his dad. After Gemma voiced her desire to find a ‘Danny Dyer-Tony Soprano’ style older man, Kirk insisted Mick would be ‘perfect’. Despite his best efforts, the businessman seemed more enticed by fellow newcomer Chloe Sims.
APRIL 2011: Despite his attentions continuing to point to Chloe, Gemma continued in her quest for Mick as she famously left an apple pie on his doorstep however he does not realise it is a gift from the boutique owner.
Gemma continued in her quest for Mick as she famously left an apple pie on his doorstep
MAY 2011: In one of the show’s most iconic scenes, Gemma is left heartbroken when she believes Mick is approaching her with a bottle of champagne at Mark Wright’s pool party however he is in fact heading toward Lauren Goodger’s sister Nicola. He later said of the scene: ‘I had no idea that Gemma was so upset. I think someone may have told her I was going to come over to her rather than Nicola. But I never meant to hurt her. I hate the thought of upsetting anyone.’
SEPTEMBER 2011: Mick sparks up a romance with Maria Fowler – an enemy to Kirk – however the following month he ends the relationship over rumours flying around Essex about their relationship.
In one of the show’s most iconic scenes, Gemma is left heartbroken when she believes Mick is approaching her with a bottle of champagne
OCTOBER 2011: Mick confesses to Kirk that he feels lonely and would like some company ‘Maybe there’s bits of my life where I haven’t been there for you so it’s hard for me to see where I’m going wrong…
‘I wasn’t there enough for you growing up but I want you to know I’m here for you now. I want to do the things we didn’t do and still can do. I’m quite a hard person and it’s difficult for me to show my emotions and that’s not me making an excuses and it doesn’t mean I don’t love you and I don’t want you around me and I just put this hard exterior up sometimes…
‘Any time you get upset let’s not end up having a shouting match over it. Talk to me. With women, that’s where I push buttons. Unfortunately in what I do, I am surrounded by women from 20 years of age to 35 years of age.’ When Kirk voiced concerns over women taking advantage of Mick, he went on: ‘Really Kirk it’s not your decision, with me you might think I’m having a great time and that but every night I come to this house on my own, I live on my own, it’s empty, it’s nothing.’
APRIL 2012: Mick is left in shock when a blaze breaks out at his Essex mansion after which he was treated for smoke inhalation while Kirk suffered minor cuts after attempting to put out the fire that broke out an upstairs rooms around 2.30pm. He spoke of the fire on the show and showed Mario Falcone the damage on-screen.
MAY 2012: Mick invites a number of the TOWIE boys around for a poker night to christen his new man cave since his home renovation
MARCH 2013: Mick announced his departure from the show after five series and banned filming in his club after becoming displeased with the reputation of fighting and fury among castmembers within the luxury establishment. He said: ‘My club is an upmarket venue where people come to drink champagne and feel spoiled. All these rows they keep filming don’t show the club in a good light and I’m worried it’s putting people off coming, which is the last thing I want.’
Mick announced his departure from the show after five series and banned filming in his club
An Essex Police spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We were called to an address in 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.’
Mick sold Sugar Hut in 2019, having previously gone on to develop a property portfolio, including The Grand Hotel in Leigh.
The businessman shelled out £4.3m for the site back in 2011 and dreamed of turning the derelict building into a boutique hotel,restaurant and spa.
Nightclub owner: The businessman rose to fame as the owner of Sugar Hut nightclub on the ITV series The Only Way Is Essex (pictured in 2012)
Main man: The star made his TOWIE debut in 2011 during the show’s second season, while son Kirk was part of the original cast when the show began a year prior.
Emergency services: A police car and a forensic investigation van were parked outside Mick’s home in Bulphan, Essex, after he was found dead on Thursday afternoon
However, despite extensive renovation, restoration work took longer than planned and the hotel is still yet to open.
The same year Mick bought the hotel, he put his £3.4million converted farmhouse up for sale. The mansion, which was also a regular filming location during his time, was the envy of TOWIE viewers.
The estate also boasted a private house where Kirk lived with his girlfriend at the time Lauren Pope, a hot tub and plasma screen TVs. After putting up the house on sale, Mick said, ‘I’ve been here six years and I’ve completely refurbished this place. Now I’m ready to move on to another project.’
Sweet: Mick is pictured at the 2012 Inside Soap Awards alongside his fleet of hostesses, the Sugar Hut Honeys – including Love Island winner Hannah Elizabeth (seen kissing the star)
Millionaire: Mick was known as the businessman of Essex on the hit ITV2 show, but eventually sold the Brentwood nightclub in 2019 (pictured)
Mick made a hefty profit for £2.2million after buying the house in 2005 for £1.2million.
It is the first tragedy to strike the TOWIE cast since Patricia Brooker, known as Nanny Pat, died aged 80 in 2015.
Reality TV has been hit with a number of tragic young deaths in recent years, including perhaps most notably, Love Island host Caroline Flack, who took her own life at her north-east London home last February aged 40.
Before that, the programme was rocked by the death of Mike Thalassitis, who hanged himself in a park after an alcohol and cocaine binge aged just 26, an inquest was told in 2019.
A decade earlier, there was widespread mourning over the death of Big Brother’s Jade Goody, who died of cervical cancer at 27, after being hailed for her work in raising awareness and encouraging women to get checked.
Heartache: Love Island star Mike Thalassitis and host Caroline Flack both died from suicide in 2019 and 2020 respectively
Reliving the famous scene with Gemma Collins, Mick previously said he regretted reducing the boutique owner to tears in an interview with The Sun that year.
He said at the time: ‘I had no idea that Gemma was so upset. I think someone may have told her I was going to come over to her rather than Nicola. But I never meant to hurt her. I hate the thought of upsetting anyone.’
Mick went on to have a brief romance with Maria Fowler, who also starred on the show and was 13 years his junior. He quit TOWIE in 2013, after being left furious the nightclub was being used a battleground on the show.
Drama: When TOWIE debuted in 2010, Sugar Hut was the place to be and where much of the drama unfolded (Jessica Wright, Lauren Goodger, Amy Childs, Mark Wright and James Argent pictured in 2011)
Sugar Hut became known for its high-publicised feuds on the show with huge rows between central characters such as Mark Wright and Lauren Goodger, as well as former on-off couple Chloe Sims and Mark’s cousin Elliott.
He told The Sun at the time of his departure: ‘My club is an upmarket venue where people come to drink champagne and feel spoiled. All these rows they keep filming don’t show the club in a good light and I’m worried it’s putting people off coming, which is the last thing I want.’
Mick described his time on TOWIE as ‘very demanding’ and ‘what it did to me as a person was quite a strange thing’ as he struggled from being ‘somebody nobody really knows’ to ‘a household name so to speak’.
Shock: Mick’s nightclub was a key feature on the show, which also starred his fleet of hostesses – known as The Sugar Hut Honeys (pictured)
He said during an interview with Echo News about why he joined TOWIE in 2018 that ‘it was a decision I took just to try to manoeuvre the business – the Sugar Hut – in the right way, I needed it to be portrayed in the right light and being part of the show that was the only way I could do that.’
Mick added: ‘I didn’t want them to just come and ride roughshod over the business and portray it how they wanted, people having fights in the club and what have you.
‘That would never be right and even the relationship with my son, I needed that to come across right. But it got to the stage where it really wasn’t where I needed to be in life.’
Mick pictured at the Royal World Premiere of ‘Skyfall’ at Royal Albert Hall on October 23, 2012 in London
TOWIE’s Mario Falcone reveals Mick Norcross was ‘the only one from the show to reach out’ during his battle with depression
Mario Falcone has spoken out about how Mick Norcross reached out to him during the height of his battle with depression back in 2012, following the businessman’s tragic death on Thursday.
The TOWIE star, 32, paid tribute to his former co-star, who was pronounced dead at his home in Essex by emergency services on Thursday afternoon aged 57.
Mario, who starred on the show between 2011 and 2018, said he looked up to Mick ‘in the highest regard’, after the businessman reached out to him when Mario tragically tried to take his own life eight years ago.
Supportive: Mario Falcone has spoken out about how Mick Norcross reached out to him during the height of his battle with depression on Thursday
Grieving: The TOWIE star, 32, paid tribute to his former co-star, who was found dead at his home in Essex by emergency services on Thursday afternoon aged 57
The television personality previously spoke about how he tried to commit suicide during the height of his fame after a painful and televised split with his ex-fiancee Lucy Mecklenburgh.
Sharing a photo with former Sugar Hut owner Mick, Mario wrote: ‘This one is very hard to accept. I had so much respect and admiration for this man.
‘I had the honour of filming with him a lot on TOWIE and also to be good friends away from the show.
‘When I went through my battle with depression and suicide you were the only one from the whole show that reached out and cared about me. You were someone I looked up to and held in the highest regard. The thought of you going through the same pain and emotional darkness I did breaks my heart.
‘You will be sorely missed by so many!
‘Thank you for the many memories in the sugar hut, the wild parties, the advice and dropping me off to get my R8. The world has lost a very good man.
‘RIP Mick Norcross.’