Coronation Street star Anne Kirkbride, who played Deirdre Barlow in the long-running soap, has died aged 60 after a short illness.
ITV last night said the actress, who was in the show for 42 years, passed away peacefully in a Manchester hospital.
Co-star William Roache, of Ilkeston, played her husband Ken Barlow for many years.
He said: “I feel Anne’s loss so personally having worked closely with her for over 40 years. She was such a loving and vibrant person. You always knew she was there because her laugh was never far away.
“She was an impeccable performer with superb comedy timing and an immense gift for really heightened drama. We had some rows over the years as Ken and Deirdre and it was wonderful to play those scenes opposite her.
“Coronation Street has lost one of its iconic characters and Anne will be greatly missed.”
She was married four times in the programme, twice to Ken. In the 1980s one of the soap’s most famous storylines hinged on whether she would stay with him.