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"It is with great sadness that David Beckett has confirmed tonight that his beloved wife and Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride has passed away peacefully in a Manchester hospital after a short illness," read a statement from the soap.
Anne Kirkbride, pictured with her on-screen husband William Roache, died on Monday evening after a short illness
"David and the programme's cast and crew are heartbroken and deeply saddened at the loss of Anne who has been a Coronation Street icon for 44 years."
Soon after the news broke, Anne's former colleagues took to Twitter to pay tribute to the star. HELLO! Online blogger, Michelle Keegan was one the first to react to the sad news.
So so sad. Devastating news. Love you Annie. The nation is now in mourning... 💔 xxx— michelle keegan (@michkeegan) January 19, 2015
"So so sad. Devastating news. Love you Annie. The nation is now in mourning... 💔 xxx," read her tweet.
Anne played character Deirdre for 44 years
William Roache who played Anne’s onscreen husband Ken Barlow said: "I feel Anne's loss so personally having worked closely with her for over 40 years. She was such a loving and vibrant person. You always knew she was there because her laugh was never far away.
Anne Kirkbride RIP. A part of our lives whether you knew her or not. She created such an iconic character. pic.twitter.com/psCnxCPb43— Paddy McGuinness (@PaddyMcGuinness) January 19, 2015
"She was an impeccable performer with superb comedy timing and an immense gift for really heightened drama. We had some rows over the years as Ken and Deirdre and it was wonderful to play those scenes opposite her. Coronation Street has lost one of its iconic characters and Anne will be greatly missed."
Anne is survived by her husband, David, her brother John, and his family.