Coronation Street actor Johnny Briggs has died aged 85 after a long illness.
Mr Briggs, who played lothario and underwear factory boss Mike Baldwin on the soap for 30 years, died at home on Sunday.
In a statement, his family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father, Johnny Briggs.
“He passed away peacefully this morning after a long illness, with family by his side. He was 85.
“We politely ask for privacy at this time, so that we can quietly grieve as a family and remember the wonderful times we had with him. Thank you”.
John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the north, paid tribute to the star.
“The whole Coronation Street family is deeply saddened by the death of Johnny Briggs,” he said in a statement.
“For years Johnny was right at the centre of the show, playing the part of Mike Baldwin and bringing to the role huge energy, dynamism, professionalism and credibility.
“When Mike Baldwin was in a scene it was very hard to look at anyone else.
“And it was that charisma which made him irresistible to the women of Coronation Street, and to viewers.
“He truly was one of the most iconic characters the Street has ever known. We wish Johnny’s family all our condolences”.
Presenter Piers Morgan also paid tribute to the Coronation Street actor on social media.
He tweeted: “RIP Johnny Briggs, 85. Coronation Street legend who played rogueish Mike Baldwin for 30yrs. Great character on & off screen”.
RIP Johnny Briggs, 85.
Coronation Street legend who played rogueish Mike Baldwin for 30yrs. Great character on & off screen. pic.twitter.com/klr8CTLUa9
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 28, 2021
Emmerdale actor John Bowe tweeted: “RIP Johnny Briggs. Never forgotten introducing you to Guacamole!”
Former Corrie writer Phil Ford said: “Very very sad to hear that actor Johnny Briggs has died. Knew him during my time on Corrie. Many a lunchtime chat. Lots of smiles”.
“#RestInPeace Johnny Briggs. Really sorry to hear the sad news,” tweeted Samia Longchambon. “I have fond memories of working with Johnny, he was such a lovely man”.
Born September 5 1935 in Battersea, in south-west London, Mr Briggs was evacuated to the countryside during World War II before starting a career in showbusiness back in London at the age of 12.
After a break for two years of service in Germany with the Royal Tank Regiment, he resumed his acting career starring in several Carry On films and ITV police drama No Hiding Place.
The father-of-six joined Coronation Street in 1976 and appeared in 2,349 episodes of the ITV soap.
Mr Briggs left the show in 2006 after his character Mike was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and died outside the factory following a fatal heart attack.
Following his departure from the show, the actor was made an MBE in the 2006 New Year’s Honours.
Mr Briggs also appeared on stage and in films, alongside the likes of Norman Wisdom, Dirk Bogarde and Tommy Steele.