Her niece Sonia Hearld has confirmed the sad news, which comes just three days after Jean’s birthday.
Speaking to the Mirror, Sonia explains that the soap legend died in her sleep on Friday (14 October), after being taken to hospital on her birthday on Tuesday (11 October).
Sonia, her sister Valeria Thewlis and their father Kenneth Hodgkinson are Jean’s only living relatives, adds the paper.
Jean played Hilda continuously from 1964 to 1987, and later made a series of one-off appearances as the character in the 1990s.
When her final 1987 scene aired, over 27 million viewers tuned in to say farewell to Hilda, who is still never far from the top of any Best Soap Character polls.