Coronation Street actress Liz Dawn has passed away, at the age of 77. The soap star's family confirmed the news on Tuesday morning in a heartbreaking statement, which read: "We are devastated and heartbroken at the passing of our much-loved wife, mother, sister, grandmother and great grandmother, the incredible Liz Dawn. Liz died peacefully last night at home with her loving family around her. She has been the love, light and inspiration in our lives and we are bereft at her passing."
Coronation Street actress Liz Dawn has passed away aged 77
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The legendary actress played Corrie's Vera Duckworth for 34 years and retired from the role in 2008 due to poor health. A statement from ITV's Coronation Street read: "It is with the greatest sadness that we have learned our beloved Liz Dawn has passed away last night. Her family at Coronation Street are heartbroken. We extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathy at this very sad time to Liz's devoted husband Don, her loving children Graham, Dawn, Ann and Julie, their families and her six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
"We have been blessed to have Liz in our lives, as she was such a kind, considerate and caring friend and colleague. As Coronation Street's Vera Duckworth for 34 years, Liz brought so much joy and happiness to so many. She was a wonderful actress who will forever be a true Coronation Street legend."
Earlier this month, Liz – real name Sylvia Butterfield – was rushed to hospital after suddenly falling ill due to the lung condition emphysema. At the time, a source close to the actress' family told The Sun: "She's been in and out of hospital quite a few times in the last few years and normally the family are quite upbeat, but this time they seem more concerned. She's not in a good way and her loved ones are obviously very worried."
The actress played Corrie's Vera Duckworth for 34 years
Liz first rose to fame playing Vera Duckworth in 1974, a role she played until January 2008 when her character died in her sleep. The British star had initially asked to be written out of the ITV show after being diagnosed with the incurable lung disease, but did make a one-off comeback in 2010 to play Vera's spirit when her on-screen husband Jack (Bill Tarmey) passed away. The actress received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 at the British Soap Awards and was made an MBE in 2000. After leaving the long-running soap, Liz said her only regret had been not retiring earlier due to her health issues. Speaking to The Mirror, she explained: "I wish I had left before. It was a bit of a struggle. Some days I would have to sit in the car for about ten minutes before I had the energy to even start the engine."