A CRAWLEY magician who practiced tricks day and night to be like his hero Paul Daniels has paid tribute to the ‘inspirational’ entertainer who gave him advice on how to make it in the industry.

Mr Daniels died in the early hours of this morning (Thursday, March 17) with is wife Debbie McGee by his side at their Berkshire home.

Towards the end of February, the 77-year-old’s publicist put out a statement saying he had been diagnosed with an ‘incurable brain tumour’, and he also thanked well-wishers for their support.

Shocked at his passing, Ben Taylor, who performs as The Magic Mod, has said it is all down to Mr Daniels that he is now a full time magician getting to impress his musical heroes, Premier League footballers and comedians with his tricks.

Mr Taylor, from Gloucester Road in Tilgate, said: “I have lost my hero. Paul Daniels is the reason why I first got into magic.

“When I was six my mum and dad bought me the Paul Daniels Magic set and it changed my life. It included a video of Paul performing his tricks and I watched it day and night, I was hooked on his patter and finesse.

“I can still remember the first trick I ever learnt was the cups and balls in that set.

“I tried to learn a new trick everyday and performed them for my parents.”

The 25-year-old got to meet his hero in Burgess Hill in 2013 but he was so starstruck that he ‘froze’ before performing one of his own tricks to impress Mr Daniels.

“I met him after his show and we spent a good 20 to 30 minutes chatting," he added.

“I told him how he inspired me and that he was the reason why I am doing this as a career.

“I've been lucky enough to meet all my heroes, including Paul Daniels, Paul Weller and Phil Daniels from Quadrophenia, but it was meeting Paul Daniels that really choked me up.

“I gave him my business card and when he said he had heard of ‘The Magic Mod’ it made my life. I was nearly in tears.

“I really wanted to show him a trick of my own but I froze and couldn't get my cards out.

“He was amazing, he gave me so much advice and tips on the path to take.”