As Simon Cowell's mother Julie Brett dies, we look at the heartfelt messages shared by stars close to the X Factor boss

Sad news, folks – X Factor boss Simon Cowell has been left ‘heartbroken’ at the death of his mother, Julie.

The 89-year-old former dancer passed away on Sunday, Simon and his family announced in a statement. She had been ill for some time and is believed to have died from a stroke.

The Cowell family – including Simon and his three brothers, Nicholas, Tony and Michael – said: ‘Anyone who had met her would know what a truly special and kind lady she was. We are heartbroken and will miss her terribly, but she is now at peace.’

Naturally, Simon’s showbiz friends have been quick to rally round the media mogul, sharing their condolences on social media.

New X Factor co-host Olly Murs was among the first to tweet, writing: ‘My heart goes out to @SimonCowell and his family today #RIPJulie.’

Simon’s close confident and former girlfriend Sinitta also expressed her sadness, calling Julie ‘my Beautiful Mother-Look’ – a nickname she gave her referring to the fact the Cowell boys were always seeking their mother’s approval.

She wrote on Twitter:

Former X Factor finalists including Matt Cardle, Stacey Solomon, Stevi Ritchie and Sam Bailey also posted messages of support.

X Factor 2012 champion Sam wrote:

Simon’s brother Tony took to Twitter too, calling mum Julie the ‘heart and soul of our family.’

The team at ITV also posted a touching tribute on Twitter, posting: ‘Our thoughts go out to @SimonCowell and his family after the passing of his mum Julie. Thinking of you. From everyone here at ITV.’

The channel’s bosses cancelled the first day of X Factor auditions, due to take place in Manchester today, where new judges Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw were set to Simon and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini on the panel.

A source told The Sun: ‘Everyone at X Factor is devastated for Simon and there was no suggestion that filming would go ahead.’

MORE: ‘I’ll never forget the day I met Simon Cowell’s mum – and how proud she was of her famous son

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Stephanie Wood