Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced the death of his eldest son.

Nicholas, a 43-year-old composer, had been moved to a hospice as he battled gastric cancer.

His Oscar-winning father said the family “are all totally bereft” after he died on Saturday.

“I am shattered to have to announce that my beloved elder son Nick died a few hours ago in Basingstoke Hospital,” Lloyd Webber wrote on Twitter.

“His whole family is gathered together and we are all totally bereft.”

Nicholas followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a composer, scoring the BBC’s Love, Lies And Records, and a theatrical and symphonic version of The Little Prince.

He also produced his father’s Symphonic Suites at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London.

He was diagnosed with gastric cancer 18 months ago.

Lloyd Webber said the recent advancement of his illness had left him “absolutely devastated”.

The 75-year-old, best known for musicals including Cats, The Phantom Of The Opera, and Starlight Express, missed the opening of Bad Cinderella at New York’s Imperial Theatre as a result.

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What is gastric cancer?

Gastric cancer – or stomach cancer – is when cells form in the lining of the stomach and grow abnormally.

If the cancer is found at an early stage, it can be treated.

There are many symptoms, some of which may be hard to spot – the NHS says they include:

• Heartburn or acid reflux

• Issues with swallowing

• Feeling or being sick

• Indigestion

• Feeling full very quickly

• Loss of appetite and weight loss

• Pain at the top of the stomach

• Feeling very fatigued

• A lump at the top of the stomach

According to Bupa, around 6,600 people in the UK get stomach cancer each year.