Original EastEnders star Sandy Ratcliff dies aged 70

The actress played character Sue Osman

Original EastEnders cast member Sandy Ratcliff has died aged 70. Sandy appeared on the hit BBC soap since its first episode in 1985, portraying character Sue Osman. She played the long-suffering wife of highly-strung cafe owner and mini-cab boss Ali Osman, played by Nejdet Salih. During her four years in the series, her character contended with cot death, infidelity and finally insanity.

Sandy's powerful storylines prompted a year-long exploration of mental health on the popular show as her character struggled with the grieving process, depression and the breakdown of her marriage.

Following the sad news of her death, Sandy's co-star Nejdet Salih released a statement, paying tribute to the star.

"It's very sad. I remember the first time I auditioned for the show, we had this instant chemistry and banter," he told The Sun.

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"I remember going to her flat to rehearse lines and her son William and boyfriend Tony would be there. She was a great mum. There was nothing she wouldn't do for William.

"She would try to take younger actors under her wing and had a great sense of humour. At the end of the show, I think she had had enough, there was a lot of pressure on us back then. I think she just wanted to go."

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Sandy left EastEnders in 1989 when her character was admitted into a psychiatric facility. In real life, the star struggled with alcohol and drug addiction.