EastEnders' Dirty Den star Leslie Grantham dies, aged 71

EastEnders' Dirty Den star Leslie Grantham dies, aged 71

Anita Dobson has said Leslie Grantham was the "archetypal charming rogue" and spoke of their "magic" chemistry as she paid tribute to her EastEnders co-star, who has died aged 71.

The confirmation of Grantham's death comes after reports earlier this week suggested that he had returned to the United Kingdom to receive medical attention.

Gillian Taylforth, who appeared alongside Grantham from 1985 in EastEnders, said she was "deeply saddened to hear the very sad news".

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A statement from his agent said he died on Friday morning and that a private funeral would be held.

Earlier this week it had been reported that Grantham was critically ill in a hospital in the UK.

Tracy-Ann, who played Den's second wife Chrissie Watts, tweeted: "Really sorry to heart about Leslie Grantham".

He wrote: "What a life Leslie Grantham led".

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The London native, born in Camberwell, left the United Kingdom after splitting with his wife of 31 years, Jane.

One storyline helped the BBC soap pull in its biggest-ever audience, when more than 30 million viewers tuned in to see him hand over divorce papers to wife Angie on Christmas Day in 1986.

Grantham left the show in 1989, when his character was apparently shot - only to be resurrected in 2003.

Leslie was convicted of murder in 1966 and served ten years in prison after a taxi robbery in Berlin went wrong.

He is thought to have been in Bulgaria to star in a TV series called "The English Neighbour".

And in 2004 he was revealed to have taken part in webcam sex sessions from his EastEnders dressing room at Elstree Studios.

Broadcaster Paul Ross remembered him as a "talented, kind and very amusing man", while Craig Fairbrass - who played Dan Sullivan in EastEnders - said he had been "a strong role model".

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