Shortly after the news was confirmed by Leslie’s representative, many of his former co-stars began sharing their condolences online.
Tracy, who starred as ‘Dirty’ Den Watts’ second wife Chrissie, wrote: “Really sorry to hear about Leslie Grantham. A very very good actor and one who created an iconic character with Dirty Den.”
Michael Cashman, who worked with Leslie on ‘EastEnders’ also tweeted his condolences, pointing out that the actor was also something of an activist, supporting the fight against Section 28.
Craig Fairbrass, who played Dan Sullivan in the soap, wrote: “Absolutely gutted to hear this - I remember my early days in @bbceastenders & thinking he was such a strong role model for anyone going in playing a villain great actor v natural which is the key.” [sic]
The current executive consultant at ‘EastEnders’, John Yorke, also shared kind words in a statement issued to HuffPost UK.
He said: “Everyone at ‘EastEnders’ is deeply saddened to hear that Leslie has passed away.
“We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and friends at this extremely difficult time.”
It wasn’t just his fellow soap stars who had good things to say either and Melinda Messenger shared a throwback snap to her and Leslie’s ‘Fort Boyard’ days:
Anthony Costa and actor Adil Ray were also among those to post online:
Leslie was best-known for playing ‘Dirty’ Den Watts in ‘EastEnders’, winning over legions of fans with his two stints as the villainous character.
He also presented ‘Crystal Maze’-like gameshow ‘Fort Boyard’ for three years, and made numerous Christmas pantomime appearances over the years.
Just days before Leslie’s death, his representative confirmed that the actor had been taken ill, though the specific nature of his illness was not made public.