POPULAR city restaurateur and TV star Vito Cataffo has been found dead at his home in Lincoln.
Tributes have been paid to the "larger than life" Italian entrepreneur, who had business interests including Gino's, Zucchini's and Fourteen restaurants.
Mr Cataffo achieved national acclaim following the Channel 4 six-part series Dolce Vito last year in which he established a restaurant serving British food in the Italian town of Bologna.
His devastated fiancee Margharita Di Maro told the Echo that Mr Cataffo – who was looking forward to celebrating his 60th birthday in November – had suffered long-term health problems, including diabetes, and his health had deteriorated lately.
Mr Cataffo was found dead at his home in Stonefield Avenue, Lincoln, yesterday.
Ms Di Maro, of North Hykeham, said: "He was an amazing character and larger than life.
"I cannot imagine him not working in Gino's and can't imagine going forward without him.
"Since the TV series wherever we went people would say they loved the show.
"He always carried on right as rain as if everything was fine but was quite ill.
"We met when I had the Cobweb gift shop near Gino's and I was outside having coffee. It all took off from there.
"He was such a well-known character wherever he went.
"I always knew that one day I might have to face something tragic happening to Vito but it's still shocking when it does and I don't know how I'll deal with it."
IN YOUR ECHO: A tribute to a popular city character.