Benefits Street star ‘Fungi’ found dead in Kings Heath

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Channel 4

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James Clarke, who liked to be known as “Fungi”, featured prominently on the Channel 4 show

A star of the TV documentary Benefits Street has been found dead at home.

James Clarke, 50, known as “Fungi”, found fame in the series about residents living in James Turner Street in Winson Green.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said a man suffered a cardiac arrest and died in Vicarage Road, Kings Heath.

Fungi’s partner Kerrie Tarbuck said he was a “funny person, who made everyone laugh.”

Ms Tarbuck said she kicked down a door to his bedroom with a friend, having failed to raise him, and found him “dead on the floor.”

“He was wicked. He was a funny person and he made everyone laugh,” she said.

“People wanted to be around him all the time.”

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “Two ambulances were sent but after the first crew arrived, the second was quickly stood down.”

West Midlands Police confirmed they were called to a property at 02:52 BST where officers found a man in his 50s. The force said the death was not suspicious.

The first episode of Channel 4’s Benefits Street prompted almost 300 complaints to Ofcom in 2014.

Some viewers said they were concerned about the negative depiction of benefits’ claimants and criminal activity.

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