Liz Dawn, who played Bill Tarmey's on-screen wife Vera Duckworth, has said she is "totally bereft" at news of his death.
She said: "Bill was part of my family. When you work with someone for as long as we did it becomes more than just work.
"Our families were close and I am devastated for Ali and his family. I am totally bereft.
"He will always be remembered by everyone he came into contact with because he was such a kind and generous man.
"You couldn't wish to meet a more lovely man and a true gentleman. He was a gentle giant and I will miss him so much."