EastEnders star Leslie Grantham dies, age 71

EastEnders star Leslie Grantham dies aged 71

A statement from his agent confirmed that he passed away this morning. "The chemistry was just extraordinary and a very memorable time and I won't forget him".

Grantham shot to fame when he was cast as the landlord of the Queen Vic, the east London public house around which the action in EastEnders revolves.

With his infamous catchphrase "Hello princess", Den's storylines landed EastEnders some of their biggest viewing figures, most notably when more than 30 million people tuned in to see him hand over divorce papers to lying wife Angie on Christmas Day 1986. "My heart goes out to his loved ones".

Den returned in the early 2000s after being supposedly killed off in 1989, before leaving for good in 2005.

Shane Richie, known for playing Alfie Moon on the soap since 2002, tweeted that he has "fond memories trying to make each other laugh in front of camera", referring to working with Grantham in 2004.

His representative announced on Friday that the actor had died after a long battle with cancer.

The announcer said: "And now on BBC One, with Leslie Grantham and soap's greatest bad boy "Dirty" Den in mind, we head to the Square".

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The tribute read: "In memory of Leslie Grantham 1947-2018".

The announcement of his death comes after it was revealed earlier this week that the actor had flown back to the United Kingdom from Bulgaria - where he penned his debut children's book Jack Bates and The Wizard's Spell - to receive medical attention.

Leslie moved out of the United Kingdom in 2015 after splitting from his wife Jane Laurie after 31 years of marriage, setting up home in Bulgaria.

According to The Sun, the screen star had been visited in hospital by close friends in the industry.

He even took his talents overseas, finding fame on Bulgarian TV series The English Neighbour.

He was convicted for murdering a West German taxi driver while serving in the army in 1967, which saw him imprisoned for a "life sentence" of 10 years.

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