Daryl Somers has paid a touching tribute to Ernie Carroll, best known as the man behind Hey Hey It’s Saturday icon, Ossie Ostrich.

Somers said he passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning of natural causes inside his unit at a Mornington retirement village in Victoria. He was 92.

‘It is with overwhelming sadness I announce the passing of my beloved friend and mentor Ernie Carroll,’ he wrote on Facebook.

Carroll created and performed the famous puppet character Ossie Ostrich for 25 out of the 30 years that the program ran.

Somers led tributes for a friend he said would be “forever in my heart”.

“I am so grateful for Ernie’s early guidance of my career. He auditioned me for the hosting role on Cartoon Corner back in early 1971.

“It called upon the many talents of all involved. In Ernie’s case he was a cartoonist, camera operator, sponsor liaison officer, producer, writer, on camera character playing Professor Ratbaggy and, as himself, illustrating and narrating the adventures of Joybelle in the kids shows he also produced out of GTV9 in the 60s. He wrote comedy for the King of variety television, Graham Kennedy, on In Melbourne Tonight.

“Of course he was best known for his creation of Oswald Q Ostrich (Ossie), my lovable and nonsensically funny ‘sidekick’ on Hey Hey It’s Saturday for 25 of its 30 year run. A tribute was paid to Ernie on our recent 50th anniversary special.”

He is survived by his daughter Lynne, son Bruce, his grandchildren and his partner of almost 50 years, Miffy Marsh.

There’s a hilarious compilation of Ossie moments over at HeyHeyTVOnline