‘Emmerdale’ star Shirley Stelfox, who played Edna Birch, has died at the age of 74.
The actress passed away following a short battle with cancer, it has been confirmed.
Her agent announced the sad news on Tuesday (8 December) morning, stating that Shirley died at home with her daughter, Helena, at her bedside on Monday.
ITV MD of Continuing Drama, John Whiston, paid tribute to the star in an emotional statement, which read: “The family here at ‘Emmerdale’ are deeply saddened by Shirley's passing, it is hard to imagine the show without her.
“We offer our condolences to Shirley's family and share our feeling of loss with the millions of viewers who will miss Edna enormously.”
Other stars paid tribute to the star on Twitter:
Thinking of the entire @emmerdale family and the loved ones of the legendary Shirley Stelfox. Taught me so much when growing up. Xxx ❤️RIP❤️— Verity Rushworth (@VerityRushworth) December 8, 2015
My beautiful dear friend Shirley. How I'll miss you and the laughs that we had together. https://t.co/EW5vAgEm8E 💔xxx— Tom Lister (@tomlister) December 8, 2015
RIP Beautiful Shirley Stelfox seen here with love of her life Don Henderson 💖💕💖 pic.twitter.com/y6aeTzF44q— Kathy Burke (@KathyBurke) December 8, 2015
So sorry to hear about the passing of Shirley. My love to her family, friends, and everyone at @emmerdale 💜— Chelsea Halfpenny (@ChelseaHP) December 8, 2015
I'm deeply saddened to hear that the lovely Shirley Stelfox has passed away. A funny, kind, generous lady that will be much missed.— Daniel Brocklebank (@Dan_Brocklebank) December 8, 2015
Shirley joined ‘Emmerdale’ as the village's resident battleaxe Edna in 2000, and was still a regular on the show before her death.
The RADA-trained actress was also known for her roles as Jean in ‘Common As Muck’, as Madge Richmond on ‘Brookside’, and the original Rose on BBC sitcom ‘Keeping Up Appearances’.
She also had a varied stage career, starring in many stage productions including ‘Not Now Darling’ at The Strand, ‘Toad of Toad Hall’ at The Duke of York’s and ‘Cavalcade’ at Chichester Festival Theatre.
She was married to actor Don Henderson from 1979 until his death in 1997.
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