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Dragon’s Den star Hilary Devey has died aged 65 after battling a ‘long illness’, her publicist confirmed today.

The Bolton-born multi-millionaire entrepreneur passed away at her holiday home in Morroco on Saturday night.

She joined BBC Two programme Dragons’ Den in 2011 and left in 2012, going on to present Channel 4’s The Intern.

She became a popular figure after demonstrating her matter-of-fact approach and was usually seen donning shoulder-padded businesswear.

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.

Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis this afternoon paid tribute to the businesswoman tweeting: ‘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’

Fellow Dragon Duncan Bannatyne wrote on Twitter: ‘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’ 

In 2014, Ms Devey revealed her ongoing health problems since suffering a stroke five years prior, which caused her to ‘lose a third of her brain’.

British buisnesswoman and star of Dragon's Den Hilary Devey has died at the age of 65 after battling a 'long illness'

British buisnesswoman and star of Dragon’s Den Hilary Devey has died at the age of 65 after battling a ‘long illness’

During an appearance on ITV’s This Morning, she said it took her six months to ‘come to terms with it’ and she had ‘no energy to do anything’.

She said: ‘There is so much now that I can’t do. I remember coming home from the hospital and getting into the bathroom – and I thought what do I do now, I didn’t even know to turn the shower on.

It has taken away a lot of my life – I can’t drive anymore because it has affected my vision, I have no sensation of touch, and I have a weak left leg… but I can still walk so I’m very grateful.’

Hilary, pictured on 3 October 2013 at Windsor Castle, was made a CBE for her services to the transport industry and charitable work

Hilary, pictured on 3 October 2013 at Windsor Castle, was made a CBE for her services to the transport industry and charitable work

Hilary Devey's palletised goods distribution network Pall-Ex was the third of its kind in the UK, initially pioneered by Palletline in 1992. Pictured before she was a dragon

Hilary Devey’s palletised goods distribution network Pall-Ex was the third of its kind in the UK, initially pioneered by Palletline in 1992. Pictured before she was a dragon

Edwina Dunn, Hilary Devey and Vivienne Cox who were nominated for the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award, from Grosvenor Crescent, London, pictured on 3 April 2006

Edwina Dunn, Hilary Devey and Vivienne Cox who were nominated for the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award, from Grosvenor Crescent, London, pictured on 3 April 2006

It is not known if the health issues she encountered following her stroke in 2009 was a cause behind her death.  

Her charity work included her position as vice president of the Carers Trust and she was also a patron of the Stroke Association.

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.’

She has appeared on various other TV shows, including Secret Millionaire in 2008 when she donated £70,000 to Back Door Music Project and the Syke Community Centre in Rochdale.

In 2011, Hilary Devey appeared on the Graham Norton Show when the presenter described her as the ‘most popular dragon’ on the BBC Two show.

Hilary Devey pictured at the The Pride of Britain Awards, at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London in 2016

Born in Bolton, the northern businesswoman previously lived near Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire but later relocated to Boylestone, Derbyshire. The television personality reportedly has homes in London, Morocco, Spain, and Boca Raton in Florida

Born in Bolton, the northern businesswoman previously lived near Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire but later relocated to Boylestone, Derbyshire. The television personality reportedly has homes in London, Morocco, Spain, and Boca Raton in Florida. Pictured left at the The Pride of Britain Awards, at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London in 2016, and right, during her time in Dragon’s Den in 2012

Dragons' Den stars Theo Paphitis and Duncan Bannatyne paid tribute to businesswoman and a former panellist on the show Hilary Devey, following her death aged 65

Dragons’ Den stars Theo Paphitis and Duncan Bannatyne paid tribute to businesswoman and a former panellist on the show Hilary Devey, following her death aged 65

The 65-year-old had an estimated net worth of over £80million, and made her fortune by launching palletised freight network Pall-Ex, having launched it in 1996. She sold her home and car earlier in the 1990s to finance it.

She joined Dragon’s Den in February 2011 following James Caan’s departure from the show. Devey left the series in June 2012 to move to Channel 4 to host The Intern, a business documentary where three young interns try a week in their dream jobs.

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She also had a stint at ITV News in 2015, when she joined the Loose Women panel as a guest four months until leaving that September.

She also appeared in The Business Inspector on Channel 5.

Her palletised goods distribution network was the third of its kind in the UK, initially pioneered by Palletline in 1992.

Pall-Ex takes care of around 8,000 palletised shipments at its headquarters in Leicestershire each day, and makes deliveries to every UK postcode and 38 European countries daily.

Hilary Devey is pictured with her only son, Mevlit Brewster-Ahmet, who is now 35, pictured in 2008 with his mother at their Grade II listed home, Rangemore Hall

Hilary Devey is pictured with her only son, Mevlit Brewster-Ahmet, who is now 35, pictured in 2008 with his mother at their Grade II listed home, Rangemore Hall

In 2014, she revealed her ongoing health problems since suffering a stroke five years prior, which caused her to 'lose a third of her brain'. During an appearance on ITV's This Morning, she said it took her six months to 'come to terms with it' and she had 'no energy to do anything'. Pictured as a guest panelist on Loose Women in 2015)

In 2014, she revealed her ongoing health problems since suffering a stroke five years prior, which caused her to ‘lose a third of her brain’. During an appearance on ITV’s This Morning, she said it took her six months to ‘come to terms with it’ and she had ‘no energy to do anything’. Pictured as a guest panelist on Loose Women in 2015)

The company’s estimated annual revenues rack up just under £60million, and a combined international network turnover of over £100million.

Born in Bolton, the northern businesswoman previously lived near Burton-upon-Trent at her Grade II listed home, Rangemore Hall, in Staffordshire, but later relocated to Boylestone, Derbyshire.

The television personality reportedly has homes in London, Morocco, Spain, and Boca Raton in Florida.

A mansion she previously owned in Florida sold for £5.42million in 2014.

She has been married twice, to Malcolm Sharples from 1976 to 1978 and Philip Childs from 2011 to 2013, and has one son, Mevlit Brewster-Ahmet, who is 35.

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