EastEnders actor John Bardon, who played Dot Branning's husband Jim in the soap opera, has died aged 75.
LONDON - The screen star suffered a debilitating stroke seven years ago and was forced to drastically reduce his appearances in the BBC One show. June Brown, who played his on-screen wife, said; "I shall miss him very much as I loved him dearly." John Bardon's illness was reflected in the series and he was last seen on screen in May 2011. A spokeswoman for the soap said they are "absolutely heartbroken" at the news of the actor's death.
Actress Natalie Cassidy, who plays his screen granddaughter Sonia, said: "I never had a real granddad so John was like an actual granddad to me. He was a lovely man and I learnt a lot from him."
Former EastEnders actor Robert Kazinsky, who played Sean Slater, pointed to Bardon's performances after he fell ill.
Shane Richie - Alfie Moon in the soap - said: "Jim Branning - funny, grumpy, endearing, mischievous, massive talent, Walford will always miss you."
Actor Jake Wood, who plays his son Max, wrote on Twitter it is "such sad news".
John Bardon also appeared in numerous TV series including sitcom Birds of a Feather, Rumpole of the Bailey and had a turn in classic sitcom Dad's Army in 1975, five years after he made his screen debut. Bardon also appeared in Only Fools and Horses.
The actor also had a recurring role in ITV comedy Up The Elephant and Round The Castle, playing Jim Davidson's screen father. He also worked on the stage in a number of productions during his career, winning an Olivier Award in 1988 for his performance in the musical Kiss Me Kate. (Francisco Martins).