In a shocking development, the Grim Reaper has issued an apology through his official Facebook account for a ‘busier than usual’ start to 2016 – the statement came after an extraordinary number of people flocked to Facebook to voice their anger after the death of music icon Prince yesterday. With so many celebrities tragically passing away since the start of the year, an emergency motion at the Southend Council Full Meeting last night called for measures to be taken so that all Southend-based celebrities are protected ‘around the clock.’

Southend mum of three Chloe Mallett changed her status on Facebook to: ‘OMG now Prince has gone as well – death can do one seriously I’m well upset.’ Self-confessed music lover John Sheepton from Leigh posted: ‘I have declared my lifelong love for every famous person who has died in 2016 straight after their death for the first time, and today’s news about the last surviving PG Tips chimpanzee was the last straw. Sort it out mate @GrimReaper.’

At 11pm on Thursday, the apology appeared on Mr Reaper’s Facebook account. It said: ‘It has come to the attention of the Grim Reaper’s social media admin team that an unusually-high number of celebrities have passed away this year, and we would like to assure the public that we are looking into this as a matter of extreme urgency. He reads every comment addressed towards him on Facebook and Twitter, both positive and negative, and he promises to take all criticism on board moving forward.’

We contacted his representatives on Earth to ask him to address the allegations that he is killing ‘the world of music’ after taking both David Bowie and Prince within a few months, and he strongly denies these claims. In an email to the Chief Reporter, he said: ‘The deaths of Bowie and Prince may not have been a popular decision, but I really should point out that we are now entering Britain’s Got Talent season and there are bound to be a few entirely untrained and normal members of the public with an exceptional singing voice to fill the gaping void. Some of these allegations on social media about me have been incredibly hurtful and I have no scythe to grind against popular music – it’s not like I consult Simon Cowell personally before I go off on every job!’

At last night’s scheduled full meeting of Southend Borough Council, an emergency motion was hastily added by a number of councillors for funds to be allocated to a ’24/7 watch’ to ensure that Southend celebrities are protected from the tolling bells of doom. In a passionate speech, Cllr Horace Kursaal of Pebbles Ward said: ‘We must surely act now to allocate a significant portion of Council Tax revenue towards shielding Southend-based celebrities from the reckless actions of the Grim Reaper. He is spotted around Westcliff seafront, the patch of grass by Rossi’s and the cliffs on a daily basis, and it is only a matter of time before he takes one of our Crown Jewels.’