A POPULAR Leigh headteacher has died while on a half term holiday in Spain.

Bob Knight who has been head at Darlinghurst School, in Pavilion Drive, since 2002 tragically passed away while on vacation at the age of 58.

Parents and pupils were informed of his death on Thursday afternoon after by text message and through a letter posted on the school's website.

The school will be open on Monday when a special assembly will be held in his honour.

Tributes have already poured for Mr Knight, who oversaw the school's passage into academy status.

A joint statement from the school's head of governors Emma Howe and acting headteacher Emma Nicholls said: "Our principal Mr Knight died suddenly and unexpectedly during the half term holiday.

"At this stage we do not have any further details and the thoughts of all the governors and staff are with Mr Knight’s family at this sad time.

"The school will be open as usual on Monday and we will be holding a special assembly for the children. We will also be making arrangements for supporting the school community, children and staff, through this difficult time.

"Mr Knight was very proud of our school and what we have all achieved. We will miss him very much. May we take this opportunity to thank you in advance for your support over the next few days and weeks."

Jane Theadom, head of learning at Southend Council, called Mr Knight a “highly respected” local headteacher and education leader.

"Our thoughts are with Bob's family as they come to terms with their loss and also with the Darlinghurst school community."