CORONATION Street actress Anne Kirkbride, who gave life to the popular character of Deirdre Barlow in the soap, has died after a short illness.
The 60-year-old actress had been part of the British soap for more than 40 years and was part of some major storylines, including love triangles and a prison sentence for mortgage fraud in 1998, which caused a real life campaign to be launched with the then Prime Minister Tony Blair promising to intervene to have her released.
Although Kirkbride was rumoured to have retreated to her villa in Mojacar, Almeria, after asking for an extended break from filming in September, she is reported to have died peacefully in a Manchester hospital.
A statement on Coronation Street’s website said that the cast and crew were heartbroken by the sad news, and William Roache, who played the part of her husband in the soap, said: “I feel Anne’s loss so personally having worked closely with her for over 40 years.”
Executive producer of the soap Kieran Roberts said the cast felt blessed to have worked with her.