Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride has died aged 60 it has been confirmed.
A statement confirmed that Anne had passed away following a short illness. No other details about her death have been released at this time.
Best-known for playing Deirdre Barlow since 1972, Anne had taken a break from Coronation Street in September for three months. Just yesterday speculation was rife that Anne wouldn’t be returning to the soap and was planning to retire.
In 1993 Anne was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which she made a full recovery from but suffered depression afterwards. Anne married David Beckett in 1992, her Coronation Street co-star at the time, and he had been with her at the time of her death.
“There are no words to describe the sense of grief we feel at Anne’s passing,” said Executive Producer Kieran Roberts. “We know only too acutely how much Anne meant to the millions of people who watched her create the legendary character of Deirdre Barlow.
“She will be greatly missed by the Coronation Street team who share happy memories of working with her. We feel blessed and honoured to have known her. Our thoughts are with David and their family.”
William Roache, who played Anne’s onscreen husband Ken Barlow, 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.”
Our thoughts go out to Anne’s family and friends at this difficult time. Coronation Street won’t be the same without one of its best-loved and most familiar faces.