Legendary actress Anne Kirkbride, who played Deirdre in Coronation Street for 44 years, has died after a battle with cancer.
Her death at a hospital in Manchester was announced last night by her husband David Beckett. She was 60.
A statement from the soap said: "It is with great sadness that David Beckett has confirmed tonight that his beloved wife and Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride has passed away peacefully in a Manchester hospital after a short illness."
Ken Roache, who played Anne's on-screen husband Ken for many years, said: "Coronation Street has lost one of its iconic characters."
Anne, who had appeared in almost 1000 episodes of the iTV soap, was due to return to the Street this month.