Home and Away star Cornelia Frances has passed away, it has been confirmed. The actress, who played Alf Stewart's sister Morag Bellingham in the Australian soap, died aged 77 following a battle with cancer. On Tuesday, Ray Meagher - who played her on-screen brother - told Australian publications: "Cornie was an incredibly loved and valued member of our cast over many, many years. We had a moment of silence for her on set this morning and she'll be sadly missed by both cast and crew."
Home and Away star Cornelia Frances has passed away
The actress was well known for playing the feisty barrister in the Australian soap. She played the recurring guest role from 1988 over 30 years with her last episode screening in April last year. A spokesperson from Channel Seven said: "Her onscreen presence inspired a generation of actors. This gift was coupled with an ability to bring a sense of dignity and presence into each room she entered. Her energy and character will be missed."
Home and Away aside, Frances also appeared in dramas including Sons and Daughters, The Young Doctors and Prisoner, as well as hosting the Australian version of The Weakest Link. Earlier this year, the actress opened up about her bladder cancer diagnosis, telling Australian newspaper the Daily Telegraph: "I discovered I had bladder cancer. This then spread to my hip bone which fractured, and then I almost died from loss of blood due to an ulcer in my throat. Despite all this, I am still here, as the old song goes."
The actress played Alf Stewart's sister Morag
Past and present stars from the soap have since paid tributes. Lincoln Younes, who played Casey Braxton in the soap, tweeted: "Vale #CorneliaFrances. You were always ahead of the game. Will miss your witty banter on-set X." Ada Nicodemou, who stars as Leah Patterson-Baker, said: "Cornelia was very loved and respected. She'll be sadly missed. Lawrence [Eastland, Cornelia's son], her family and friends are in our thoughts." Lynne McGranger, best known for playing Irene Roberts, added: "She was very loved and respected. In a way she paved the way for women in Australian TV always playing such strong characters. My thoughts are with Lawrence and her family."