Actor Josh Bardon, who is most well-known for playing Jim Branning in the BBC One soap opera Eastenders, has died in the early hours of today aged 75.
Mr Bardon had suffered a severe stroke seven years ago, forcing him to reduce his appearances on the show. His illness was reflected in the series and his last appearance as Jim Branning was in May 2011, a role that he has kept since 1996.
A spokeswoman for the soap had said that they are “absolutely heartbroken” at the news of Mr Bardon’s death.
“John was an exceptionally talented actor whose humour, mischievousness and brilliant performances made Jim Branning one of Walford’s most loveable, memorable characters, and we will miss John forever,” she added.
June Brown, who plays his on-screen wide Dot Branning said: “I’am so sorry that John has passed away but hope that he is now at peace after seven difficult years. I shall miss him very much as I loved him dearly. My thoughts are with his devoted wife, Edna.”
Natalie Cassidy, who plays Sonia, Jim Branning’s granddaughter 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.”
Other actors who had played along Josh Bardon on the soap opera offered tributes to him on Twitter:
Such sad news…I'm honoured to have known him. John was a gentleman and will be missed by all who knew him. RIP x http://t.co/8IuggHc3bn
— Jake Wood (@mrjakedwood) September 12, 2014
RIP John bardon, a gent to work with, always kept us smiling.
— Robert Kazinsky (@RobertKazinsky) September 12, 2014
Jim Branning funny, grumpy,endearing ,mischievous ,massive talent,walford will always miss you RIP john Bardon pic.twitter.com/wNQ5Qbnb3c
— Shane Richie (@realshanerichie) September 12, 2014
Gutted john Bardon passed away today. Such a lovely man. He was lovely to work with also .. Thinking of his family x
— Madeline Duggan (@maddiedugx) September 12, 2014
Josh Bardon was first born in Brentford, Middlesex in 1939. He has acted in several roles including Dad’s Army, Only Fools and Horses, ITV’s Up The Elephant and Round The Castle and even in the British film East is East.
He won in Olivier Award in 1988 for his performance in the musical Kiss Me Kate.