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Bill Roache was 'close' to daughter Vanya before her death, is helping plan funeral

The Coronation Street star has been granted compassionate leave

Sophie Vokes-Dudgeon

Coronation Street star Bill Roache had grown 'close' to his daughter Vanya before she tragically died of liver failure last week at the age of 50. The 85-year-old actor's relationship with his daughter had been strained following his split from Vanya's mother, Anna Cropper, in her childhood. But the father-daughter pair had repaired their relationship and Vanya's fiance Toby Evans says his late-partner's dad and the rest of the family are 'heartbroken' following her sad and sudden passing.

Bill Roache plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

"She was close with him before she died," Toby told the Express. "Bill's been down all weekend and we've been arranging the funeral," he added. He revealed that Vanya’s death had come as a huge shock to the whole family and the sudden nature of her liver failure has added to the impact. "The family is heartbroken. We've all lost someone we deeply loved and we're trying to get over it," he added.

As HELLO! reported previously, Bill, who stars in Coronation Street as Ken Barlow, has been granted compassionate leave as he deals with the tragedy, with show bosses reportedly telling the star to take as much time off as he needs. It is the third time Bill has lost a close family member, following the sudden death of his second wife Sara Mottram in 2009, at the age of 58. The couple's daughter Edwina died from pneumonia at just 18 months, in 1983.

Ken with his second wife, Sara Mottram

Vanya was Bill's eldest daughter from his first marriage to ex-wife Anna Cropper. The former couple are also parents to a son, actor Linus Roache, who currently stars in Homeland. Bill married his second wife Sara in 1978. They welcomed daughter Verity (born 1981) and son James, christened William (born 1985). Their third child, little Edwina, passed away on 16 November 1984 from acute bronchial pneumonia.