Hilary Devey cause of death news: Dragons’ Den stars Deborah Meaden & Peter Jones pay tribute as millionaire dies age 65 | The Sun

BUSINESS WOMAN and Dragons' Den star Hilary Devey has died aged 65 following a long illness.

The TV favourite was staying at her holiday home in Morocco when she passed away on Saturday, her agent confirmed today.

Haulage boss Hilary, who received a CBE in 2013 for services to the transport industry and charity, starred in a series of TV shows.

She featured on the Secret Millionaire in 2008 and donated more than £70,000 to the Back Door Music Project and the Syke Community Centre in Rochdale.

Fellow 'Dragon' Theo Paphitis paid tribute to Ms Devey, saying: "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."

Peter Jones said: "She was an inspiring woman and it was great to spend time with her on Dragons' Den. Sending my deepest condolences to her family."

Duncan Bannatyne also commented on the news, saying: "So young. Too young. Rest in Peace Hilary".

Deborah Meaden tweeted: "She was unique in every way and brought grit and warmth with her into the Den.

"My thoughts are with her family and loved ones. RIP Hilary. truly one of a kind."

Read our Hilary Devey blog below for the latest news and updates…

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Hilary Devey made her millions through haulage

    It's not the sexiest industry but it's worth a lot.

    You've probably seen trucks with 'Pall-Ex' on the side – they were owned by Devey.

    She launched her palletised freight network in 1996 and one of only three palletised distribution networks launched in the UK.

    The compny handles around under 10,000 palletised parcels each day and has over 90 network members.

    The Leicester-based company has an annual revenue of over £92 million.

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    How much did Hilary Devey give away on Secret Millionaire?

    The 65-year-old entrepreneur who defied the odds died at home in Morocco after a long illness.

    While on the show, Devey gave almost £200,000 away to staff she felt deserved it.

    On the show, Devey was seen to give £62,000 to Syke Community Base, £2,000 to leader Sheila Acton for a 'well-earned holiday', and another £70,000 to Back Door Music Project.

    As well as all this, she gave £2,000 to Skye Football Club.

    The business woman made her fortune building up a haulage empire worth over £100M based in the midlands.

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Tributes from current and former Dragons poured in

    To the viewer, it was clear Hilary Devey was full of character.

    Theo Paphitis spoke of Hilary Devey's charisma and 'amazing generosity of spirit.'

    The entrepreneur died at the age of 65 in Morocco.

    Paphitis said of her: "When she joined Dragons’ Den, we’d already been filming for quite a few series. So she came into the Den as a newbie, but totally commanded her position and her presence."

    Deborah Meaden also said: "She was unique in every way and brought grit and warmth with her into the den. My thoughts are with her family and loved ones. RIP Hilary. truly one of a kind"

    Meanwhile BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James joined the tributes saying: "I’m so sad to hear the news about Hilary. An absolute inspiration for women in particular who wanted to make their mark in male-dominated industries, like she did in haulage. She was also so much fun."

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Hilary's son slept in her bed until he was 10

    The entrepreneur had only one child.

    Devey's son, Melvit Brewster-Ahmed, 36, slept in his mother's bed until he was almost in secondary school.

    In 2015, Devey, then 58, admitted on Loose Women that her son would still come and sit on her bed and stay with her, sparking a heated debate amongst the women.

    She defended her parenting saying her 'mother's instinct' means she knows what's best for him.

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    What investments did Hilary Devey make on Dragons Den?

    While on the show, the entrepreneur invested in eight businesses.

    Despite the eight investments on the show, only two went through after the show; hair care range, Shampooheads; and bespoke travel bedding firm, Duvalay.

    Devey and Theo Paphitis invested £75,000 for a 20% share of Shampooheads in series 10 of Dragon's Den, a share they both retain to this day.

    The Newcastle-based firm secured major deals in Dubai, Ireland and Australia.

    As for Duvalay, Devey put up the full £80,000 for 26% equity in Duvalay and still owns her share in the business.

    Devey designed and launched her own collection of luxury bedding in collaboration with the company in 2015. The franchise model of Duvalay has seen grow across the world as it launched in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Iceland.

  • Ije Teunissen-Oligboh

    Good morning! I'm Ije Teunissen-Oligboh with you today, remembering the powerhouse that was Hilary Devey.

  • Milica Cosic

    Explained: Who were Hilary Devey's ex-husbands?

    Hilary, who was married and divorced three times, opened up about her complex relationships in a BBC Radio 4 story on October 28, 2012.

    She revealed that years into her mother's relationship with Hilary's father, she found out that he was already married with four children.

    Coincidentally, history repeated itself in that Hilary then went on to discover herself discovered that her ex-partner already had a wife and five children.

    In 2013 Hilary divorced her third husband Philip Childs after less than two years as a married couple.

    She was previously married to Malcolm Sharples from 1976- 1978 and to Ed Devey.

  • Milica Cosic

    Who was Hilary Devey?

    Hilary was an English businesswoman, TV presenter and entrepreneur.

    Born in Bolton, Lancashire on March 10, 1957, she had an early start in the business haulage world and went on to make her first million pounds within three years.

    Later in her career she starred in popular business themed TV shows The Secret Millionaire, Dragons Den and The Intern as well as being on the Loose Women panel.

    She made her fortune after launching freight network Pall-Ex back min 1996.

    Haulage boss Hilary received a CBE in 2013 for services to the transport industry and to charities.

  • Louis Allwood

    Family bankruptcy

    Hilary first faced hard times aged four when she watched bailiffs tear apart her Lancashire family home after her parents’ company went bankrupt.

    She claims it ignited a fire in her to never end up in the same position as her father, Arthur Brewster, who had to work in pubs to care for his family.

    For the next few years, the family moved around for work meaning she switched schools more than ten times.

    It was while the family was based in Accrington when she was prayed on by a horrific sexual abuser who kidnapped her overnight aged just 12.

    Hilary told how an older girl called Sandra led her to an unknown predator who threatened to come after her parents if she shared the ordeal.

    In her autobiography, Bold as Brass, she wrote: “He kept me there with him all night – the b****** who thought that raping a child was his due at the end of the night. He did it again and again."

    She continued: "He just wouldn't stop and however much I kept trying to push him away, he didn't take any notice."

  • Louis Allwood

    Who was Hilary's second husband?

    Hilary's second marriage was to Ed Devey.

    It came after she set up her freight network Pall-Ex after spotting a gap in the haulage market.

    By this time, she had her son, Mevlit yet the pair did not get on.

    After their brief marriage, she said: "It lasted only months but cost me a lot of money."

  • Louis Allwood

    How did Hilary Devey make her money? (2/2)

    Two years later she began hosting Channel 4 business documentary The Intern before she made her debut as a Loose Women panellist in 2015.

    In 2012 she was awarded an an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration by the University of Bolton.

    In 2013, Devey was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to transport and charity.

    And in 2014, she was awarded another honorary degree, this time a doctorate of Business Administration by the University of Wolverhampton.

  • Louis Allwood

    How did Hilary Devey make her money? (1/2)

    Devey established Pall-Ex in 1996 after reportedly selling her car and her home to kickstart the business venture.

    Pall-Ex soon turned into a successful business, handling approximately 8,000 palletised consignments in its hub in Leicestershire every day, generating annual revenues of £59.947 million.

    Following her business success, Devey went on to make a name for herself as a television personality.

    In 2008 the Bolton-born business mogul starred in popular TV show The Secret Millionaire.

    Then in 2010 she went on to present The Business Inspector on Channel 5.

    In 2011 Devey became a household name when she joined the judging panel as a Dragon on hit BBC Two TV show Dragon's Den. Devey was admired for her no nonsense, straight talking attitude.

  • Louis Allwood

    Fans pay tribute to 'the best Dragon'

    Many fans of the star have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to her.

    One fan said: "What a woman Hilary Devey was. She was a Loose Woman for a short time in 2015 and she was kind, funny, blunt and pulled no punches. She was almost like a real life Corrie character so I obviously loved every minute of working with her. Too young to die."

    A second added: "So sad to hear the passing of #HilaryDevey, we followed each other on twitter, had the occasion chat here and she was always a delight. RIP!"

    A third said: "Hilary Devey: easily the best Dragon ever to set foot in the Den."

  • Louis Allwood

    Hilary's first marriage

    Hilary's first marriage was to Malcolm Sharples in 1976.

    She married him when she was just 18, after she returned from a stint in the Women's Royal Air Force.

    Malcolm was her childhood sweetheart and first boyfriend.

    Yet the pair sadly divorced in 1978 and talking of their split, Hilary told MailOnline: "I realised that I wanted to experience more of life than Bolton had to offer and we parted after a couple of years."

  • Louis Allwood

    Health issues in 2009

    Hilary suffered a debilitating stroke following a tummy tuck in 2009 – which robbed her of some peripheral vision and sensation in her left arm – but was back at work within six months.

    Speaking in 2013 Hilary said: "I'm not anxious about my health now. We're here for a given period of time and Him upstairs will decide when he wants us."

    She added: "I don't like getting old, but that's life. I have Botox. I'd have a facelift if I knew the results would be good, but I don't want to look like a freak."

  • Louis Allwood

    Hilary helped her son overcome a drug addiction

    Hilary amassed a £50million fortune during her glittering career.

    But she spoke openly about her struggles, including helping her own son, Mevlit, overcome his heroin and crack cocaine addiction.

    After splitting from her third husband, property developer Philip Childs, in 2013 she admitted: "I don't trust easily.

    "Life has taught me not to always take people at face value."

  • Louis Allwood

    Who were Hilary Devey's ex-husbands?

    Hilary, who was married and divorced three times, opened up about her complex relationships in a BBC Radio 4 story on October 28, 2012.

    She revealed that years into her mother's relationship with Hilary's father, she found out that he was already married with four children.

    Coincidentally, history repeated itself in that Hilary then went on to discover herself discovered that her ex-partner already had a wife and five children.

    In 2013 Hilary divorced her third husband Philip Childs after less than two years as a married couple.

    She was previously married to Malcolm Sharples from 1976- 1978 and to Ed Devey.

  • Louis Allwood

    Big break on Dragons' Den

    In March 2010, she presented The Business Inspector for Channel 5, a four-part documentary series aimed at transforming struggling businesses.

    But twice-divorced Hilary's big break came in February 2011 when she joined the panel on the Dragons' Den, following the departure of James Caan. 

  • Louis Allwood

    What was Hilary Devey's cause of death?

    On Sunday, June 12, 2022 her spokesperson told The Sun: "I can confirm that Hilary sadly died yesterday.

    "She had been ill for some time."

    The cause of her death is unknown at this time.

  • Louis Allwood

    Who was Hilary Devey?

    Hilary was an English businesswoman, TV presenter and entrepreneur.

    Born in Bolton, Lancashire on March 10, 1957, she had an early start in the business haulage world and went on to make her first million pounds within three years.

    Later in her career she starred in popular business themed TV shows The Secret Millionaire, Dragons Den and The Intern as well as being on the Loose Women panel.

    She made her fortune after launching freight network Pall-Ex back min 1996.

    Haulage boss Hilary received a CBE in 2013 for services to the transport industry and to charities.

  • Louis Allwood

    Tributes flood in

    Friends rushed to social media to pay tribute to the star.

    Her co-star Duncan Bannatyne tweeted: Sad to hear that Hilary Devey has passed. So young. Too young. Rest in Peace Hilary."

    Theo Paphitis 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."

  • Louis Allwood

    Health scare

    In 2009 when home alone she collapsed but wasn’t found by her son for eight hours when he dialed an ambulance.

    The businesswoman had suffered a stroke that left with sensation in her left arm and robbed her of some of her peripheral vision.
    Not one to be held back, she was back working within six months.

    Speaking in 2013 to the Daily Mail Hilary said: "I'm not anxious about my health now. We're here for a given period of time and Him upstairs will decide when he wants us.

    She added: "I don't like getting old, but that's life. I have Botox. I'd have a facelift if I knew the results would be good, but I don't want to look like a freak."

    After her health scare, she married Philip Childs who was renovating her house in Spain.

    But their union was short-lived and they filed for divorce in 2013, just two years after their wedding.

    At the time, she told the Scotsman: "The marriage lasted one day; then it was over, down the pan almost before the wedding reception was finished.

    "Of course, it was bloody hard knowing I’d got it wrong – yet again."

    The star was at her holiday home in Marrakech, Morocco, where she got stuck at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 due to lockdowns.

  • Louis Allwood

    Secret family heartbreak

    This time it would come in the form of a wife and five children – with the mother ringing up Hilary to announce who she was.

    But before her love life was shattered, Hilary would first lose her father at 18 to stomach cancer leaving her devastated.

    She said: “I remember the day he said, ‘I’m dying’. I was devastated but he just got on with it. He was like me – take a painkiller and go. I am my father’s daughter.”

    Yet, true to form she picked herself up and headed off to work in the RAF, before returning home and meeting local boy Malcolm Sharples who would become her first husband.

    Things didn’t last long as she wanted to see more of the world than Bolton. They divorced and she headed off to Europe as a rep for book-and-record company Leisure Circle.

    Eventually, she was ready to settle down once again, and got a job in London's East End at a rag company.

    There she met Hussein – a Turkish manufacturer – and she fell madly in love and they moved in together.

    When she discovered she was pregnant with Mevlit, her only child, she thought the pair would marry and be happy as they had been together for seven years.

  • Louis Allwood

    Family bankruptcy

    Hilary first faced hard times aged four when she watched bailiffs tear apart her Lancashire family home after her parents’ company went bankrupt.

    She claims it ignited a fire in her to never end up in the same position as her father, Arthur Brewster, who had to work in pubs to care for his family.

    For the next few years, the family moved around for work meaning she switched schools more than ten times.

    It was while the family was based in Accrington when she was prayed on by a horrific sexual abuser who kidnapped her overnight aged just 12.

    Hilary told how an older girl called Sandra led her to an unknown predator who threatened to come after her parents if she shared the ordeal.

    In her autobiography, Bold as Brass, she wrote: “He kept me there with him all night – the b****** who thought that raping a child was his due at the end of the night. He did it again and again."

    She continued: "He just wouldn't stop and however much I kept trying to push him away, he didn't take any notice."

  • Louis Allwood

    Who was Hilary's second husband?

    Hilary's second marriage was to Ed Devey.

    It came after she set up her freight network Pall-Ex after spotting a gap in the haulage market.

    By this time, she had her son, Mevlit yet the pair did not get on.

    After their brief marriage, she said: "It lasted only months but cost me a lot of money."

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