Former EastEnders actress Anna Wing, who played the sharp-tongued matriach Lou Beale, has died aged 98, her agent announced.
Ms Wing, who died on Sunday, appeared in the BBC1 soap for three years from when it began in 1985.
Ms Wing received an MBE in 2009 in recognition of a career that spanned more than six decades of television, film, radio and theatre.
Adam Woodyatt, who plays her grandson Ian Beale in the soap, described Ms Wing as "a wonderful lady".
In a statement posted to Twitter, he said: "I learned so much from her. I remember one episode ... we had a seven page scene for the cliffhanger, Ian pouring his heart out to his Gran. It was the first time I had to cry on screen and I was terrified.
"Anna put me completely at ease. Sure enough the tears flowed from nowhere and it was the first time Julia's theme was used at the end of an episode".
Another EastEnders stalwart June Brown, who plays Dot Branning, described Ms Wing as a "very generous woman" and an "excellent actress".
A spokesperson for EastEnders said they are "deeply saddened" by the news:
"From the very first episode of EastEnders, Anna created one of the most iconic matriarchs in television history". Cont.
"Lou Beale is so entrenched in EastEnders history & without Anna, the Beale family would never have been the focal point it is today". Cont
"Anna will be remembered fondly by everyone at EastEnders and our deepest sympathies are extended to her family and friends.” Ends.