, best known for playingJim Branning
, haspassed away at the age of 75
. On Friday, a statement was released via the BBC show's website that read: "Everyone atEastEnders
to learn that John has sadly passed away.
"Hisbravery, dignity and courage in battling against the devastating effects of his stroke
were admired by all who had the privilege of working with him."Our love and deepest sympathies are extended to Enda, his truly wonderful wife, at this very sad time. May he now rest in peace."Tonight's episode ofEastEnders
is dedicated to John, who will be sorely missed by all those who knew and worked with him."
, who played John's onscreen wifeDot
, said of the news, "I shall miss him very much as I loved him dearly
. My thoughts are with his devoted wife Enda."Natalie Cassidy
, who plays Sonia in the soap, said, "I never had a real granddad soJohn was like an actual granddad to me
. He was a lovely man and I learnt a lot from him."John suffered a debilitating stroke seven years ago and was forced to drastically reduce hisEastEnders
appearances. His illness was reflected in the soap and he was last seen on screen in May 2011.