The TV presenter had initially dated Rothe, who was a former drummer of the Liverpool-based group The Searchers in the Sixties, in 1980 when she was 17 years old. The pair later got together again in 2008 after meeting at ITV studios.
In a statement shared on McDonald’s Twitter on Wednesday (7 June), it was announced that Rothe’s funeral had just taken place that day after he died of lung cancer on 26 March.
“It is with immense sadness that we share the news that Jane’s beloved long term partner, Ed, passed away on Friday 26th March,” the post read. “He had been battling lung cancer for the last few months.
“We would like to thank everyone for all their help and support during this very difficult time, especially the NHS staff and the wonderful team at The Wakefield Hospice. The funeral took place earlier today and we would please ask for your kindness in observing Jane’s privacy for her and Ed’s family at this sad time.”
Fans rushed to send their support to the Loose Women panelist, with one follower writing: “My condolences to Jane and the family. I have been watching the cruise programmes recently and in almost every one she mentions her beloved Ed. So very sad to read. My heart goes out to her.”
Another commenter wrote: “Dearest Jane, I am so so sorry to hear of the loss of your Ed. May he rest in peace. Thinking of you and sending you so much love. Look after you.”
Discussing rekindling her former romance with Rothe in a 2020 interview, McDonald admitted that she was worried the musician didn’t recognise her when they crossed paths in 2008.
“He said, ‘Look I’ve just been through a divorce, here’s my card if you want to talk to me,’” she recalled. “I couldn’t wait. I ran home from Loose Women, I couldn’t wait to talk to him because a lot had happened.
“I thought what if he doesn’t know who I am, I really did. I thought he’d be like, ‘who are you?’”