On Sunday, it was announced that John – best known for playing second-hand car dealer Boycie in the beloved sitcom – had died at the age of 79 from cancer.
Sir David, who played Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter, said in a statement: “It is with much sadness to hear that John Challis, a dear friend, has passed away.
“He was a wonderful actor, a gentleman in the true sense of the word and I know he will be missed by so many.”
He said Boycie was “a character so well loved by the many fans of that show so I am pleased that he witnessed the outpouring of admiration recently shown for the 40th anniversary of the first episode in 1981.
“I send my love and condolences to his wife, Carol.”
Boycie, a cigar-smoking businessman with a mocking laugh, was married to the feisty Marlene, played by Sue Holderness.
She also paid tribute to her former on-screen husband, posting on Twitter: “Marlene without Boycie – it’s unthinkable. John Challis was my partner on screen and stage for 36 years and my beloved friend. R.I.P. darling John. I will miss you every day.”
A number of other well-known names from across the world of entertainment also shared tributes on Twitter…
The actor’s family said that John died “peacefully in his sleep” in the early hours of Sunday “after a long battle with cancer”.
A statement given to the PA news agency, they said: “It is with heavy hearts that we bring you such sad news.
“Our dear friend and yours, John Challis, has died peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer.
“He will always be loved for being ‘Boycie’ and leaves a great legacy of work that will continue to bring pleasure and smiles for many years to come.
“Please respect the privacy of John’s family and friends at this difficult time, and be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John’s life – when everyone will be welcome to come along.”