Former Dragons’ Den star Hilary Devey has died aged 65, her publicist has confirmed.
The TV star died on Saturday, after a long illness, in Morocco, where she had a property, her publicist Benjamin Webb told the PA news agency.
She joined BBC Two programme Dragons’ Den in 2011 and left in 2012, going on to present Channel 4’s The Intern.
In 2013 she was made a CBE, honoured for a career in business and for her charitable work.
She founded the multimillion-pound freight distribution business Pall-Ex, after selling her home and car in the 1990s to finance it.
Her charity work included her position as vice president of the Carers Trust and she was also a patron of the Stroke Association, having herself suffered a stroke in 2009.
She also appeared in The Business Inspector on Channel 5.
Describing being made a CBE for services to the transport industry and to charity, she said at the time: “In every sense of the word, this is a great honour and I am equally flattered and flabbergasted.
“It is wonderful to receive such recognition, but this should be less about me, and more about the charities that I support and the amazing transport sector in which I am privileged to work.
“So I dedicate my honour to the Carers Trust, the Stroke Association, and Fresh Start – New Beginnings, and the other charities that I have tried to support, as well as to the lorry drivers, forklift truck drivers and everyone else who works in the logistics sector: the unsung heroes of British industry.”
Devey was born in Bolton, and from the age of seven started helping out in the pubs and corner shop run by her parents.
She left school at 16 and later moved to London for work, where she worked in logistics for companies include TNT.
Devey came to public attention when she replaced James Caan on Dragon’s Den, later saying her best investment had been a mattress/duvet for caravans, boats and trucks.
In 2017, Devey gave up cigarettes after reportedly smoking “at least 20 a day for over 40 years”.
“I’ve been hooked on cigarettes and ignoring the damage – even though I know the harm I’m doing,” she said at the time.
“I’ve found it extremely difficult to quit for good.”
Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne, who was on the show for a decade, appearing alongside Devey, tweeted: “Sad to hear that @HilaryDevey has passed. So young. Too young. Rest in Peace Hilary.”
High-profile businessman Theo Paphitis, who also appeared on Dragons’ Den at the same time as Devey, also remembered her.
He tweeted: “So sad to hear of the passing of the lovely Hilary Devey. She left us all with some fantastic memories, may she rest in peace. My thoughts are with her family. x”