Sir Cliff Richard, 82, expressed his condolences on Facebook following the death of Bill Latham, a friend and former manager with whom he had shared a home for 30 years.
The musician credited his late religious studies instructor with helping him discover the “spiritual pathway” that transformed his life.
He shared an old photo of the couple with American evangelist Billy Graham.
“This time, someone I thought I’d known forever has died and is now living a better life.”
“Many, if not all, of you will recognize who I’m writing about… Latham, William.”
“He is the one who guided me along that spiritual path that absolutely and completely changed my life,” Sir Cliff said.
“He taught me the value of generosity and the importance of having the courage to share my beliefs in public. Bill was one of those people on whom you could rely, and I did.”
Bill would be “greatly missed” and “will live on in the many hearts of those who loved and respected him…my heart being one of them,” said the singer.
“God bless you, Bill,” he said. “Cliff, you earned your peace.”
When Bill and Sir Cliff first met in the 1960s, they moved into the singer’s mansion on the St. George’s Hill estate in Weybridge, Surrey, where they stayed until Bill moved out in 1996 to live with his wife.
According to Mail Online, Cliff addressed romance rumors in 2008, saying: “When Bill and I shared a house, there were endless stories about what people thought our genuine relationship was, but what nobody realized was that Bill’s girlfriend was also residing with us.”
Nobody asked about it because it was unimportant to them. Simply put, when Bill decided to move out, he wanted to be alone with his girlfriend.
Cliff recently discussed the length of his career and how his 20-year Christmas calendar “came to an end” in a recent interview.
Earlier this month, the singer spoke with Richard Arnold of Good Morning Britain about his most recent Christmas album and yearly calendar, published every year for the past 20 years.
In the beginning of the conversation, Richard questioned Sir Cliff about why it took him so long to release a Christmas album.
“It may get monotonous if you produce Christmas CDs repeatedly,” the performer clarified. I’ve recently listened to Christmas music, but it doesn’t get me in the holiday spirit.”
Sir Cliff said of the public’s reaction, “You are now aware. Finally, all you can do is wait and hope that the public approves.”
The conversation quickly turned to Sir Cliff’s 20-year-old annual Christmas calendar, which Cliff admitted “must come to an end” at some point.
“You’re not just talking about Christmas,” the GMB host observed. The calendar, of course, is a gift that never expires.
“We’ve been doing it for about 20 years,” Sir Cliff explained.
“Therefore, I believe that attendees of the previous performance have photographed this year’s calendar.
We did reach number one on the calendar the previous year, so we’re crossing our fingers, but it has to end.