Tributes poured in for treasured Coronation Street star Liz Dawn, who died aged 77 surrounded by her “heartbroken” family on Monday night.
The actress, who trod the cobbles as feisty Vera Duckworth for 34 years passed away “peacefully” after suffering from lung condition emphysema and undergoing heart surgery in June.
Her devoted husband of over 50 years Don Ibbotson and his family said they were “bereft” at losing their “inspiration”.
Their statement read: “We are devastated and heartbroken at the passing of our much-loved wife, mother, sister, grandmother and great grandmother, the incredible Liz Dawn.
“Liz died peacefully last night at home with her loving family around her.
“She has been the love, light and inspiration in our lives and we are bereft at her passing.”
Liz and Don had three children Dawn, 52, Ann, 51, and Julie, 49, and Liz had one son Graham, 59, from a previous marriage to Walter Bradley.
She was a grandmother to six and had three great grandchildren.
Her former colleagues at Coronation Street, which she joined the cast of in 1974, said they were “heartbroken” by the news, hailing the star as a “true Coronation Street legend”.
Liz played sharp tongued Vera, who was wife to Jack – played by , until 2008 when she requested to be written out of the soap because of her lung condition.
Paying tribute to her generous spirit, Bill Roache, 85, who played Ken Barlow, described her as “one of the most beautiful human beings I’ve ever met”.
He said: “She was kind. The first to help anybody in trouble. She was an absolute joy. Always humour. Beautiful look in the eye.
“A very loving and loveable person. And even though she’s been out of the street for quite a few years, there’s this sense of loss that she’s gone. She’s a very lovely, loveable person.
“The warmth and the humour that was in Vera came from Liz. You can see it. You can’t act that, it’s something in you that comes over.
“She was one of the most loveable people I’ve met. Great company. Great humour. Always sending herself up as well. A really beautiful person.
“She’s a consummate professional and her comedy timing was brilliant. She was a very, very good professional actress and comedienne as well as being a very kind and loveable person.
“The relationship of Jack and Vera was one of the iconic classic partnerships of the street. They were beautiful. They were life losers. Everything went wrong but they never gave up.
“They’d always get up and fight. Jack would get on with his pools and his beer and Vera would be trying to make a better life for them.
“They were the valiant little souls fighting the world. People identified with that and loved them for that and there was tremendous warmth, humanity and colossal humour from Jack and Vera.
“There was a deep rooted love there. She was always pushing Jack to get on and do something with his life. She was wanting him to improve. People have always loved characters like that.
“With Jack and Vera particularly and Liz Dawn as a person, I can only think of good things. I cannot think of a bad thing about Liz Dawn. She was a very beautiful human being.”
Julie Goodyear MBE, 75, who played Bet Lynch until 2003, commented: “Such sad news regarding the passing of Liz Dawn. I send my sincere condolences to her family. RIP Liz. My love.”
Alan Halsall, 35, plays Tyrone Dobbs, who was taken in by the Duckworths after being abandoned by his mother. He said: “It was quite daunting to come into Coronation Street as a 16 year old and then to be put with Jack and Vera, such iconic characters, so well loved.
“That was brilliant as an actor. Then you get to know the people behind the characters and learned to love Liz and Bill. They were brilliant.
“Liz first and foremost was very much a family person. That’s how she was with us on set. Off camera we became like a work family.
“She was brilliant. She guided us so much as young actors, both on screen and off screen because she was such a beautiful person.
“Liz had this amazing knack. I smile now. She was funny without knowing she was funny. She never knew what she’d said that was funny which made it even funnier.
“We laughed so many times on set. Scenes that were never meant to be funny in the script and we were constantly laughing.
“That was her amazing ability as an actress. That all came from her as a person. She was so well loved.”
A statement from Coronation Street read: “It is with the greatest sadness that we have learned our beloved Liz Dawn has passed away last night. Her family at Coronation Street are heartbroken.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathy at this very sad time to Liz’s devoted husband Don, her loving children Graham, Dawn, Ann and Julie, their families and her six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
“We have been blessed to have Liz in our lives, as she was such a kind, considerate and caring friend and colleague. As Coronation Street’s Vera Duckworth for 34 years, Liz brought so much joy and happiness to so many. She was a wonderful actress who will forever be a true Coronation Street legend.”
The ITV soap’s Executive Producer Kieran Roberts said: “Liz Dawn was a true Coronation Street legend, a brilliant actor and a wonderful person. Everyone lucky enough to have worked with Liz during her thirty-four years playing Corrie icon Vera Duckworth will remember her with huge affection.”