William Roache leads tributes to Coronation Street icon Johnny Briggs as he dies

Tributes are pouring in for Coronation Street star Johnny Briggs, who sadly passed away on Sunday morning following a long illness.

His family released a statement that read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father, Johnny Briggs.

“He passed away peacefully this morning after a long illness, with family by his side. He was 85.

“We politely ask for privacy at this time, so that we can quietly grieve as a family and remember the wonderful times we had with him. Thank you.”

Many of his former co-stars took to social media to express their sadness for his loss.

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Will Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, lead the tributes with a statement in which he said: "So sorry to hear about Johnny.

“Mike Baldwin and Ken Barlow were arch enemies for many years, but as an actor, Johnny was impeccable, always good, and I was so fortunate to have worked with him for so many years.

“He was a strong character who will be greatly missed.

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“I send my love to Johnny on his journey and to all those who are bound to miss him, he was an iconic Coronation Street character. Love you Johnny!"

Sally Dynevor, who plays Sally Metcalfe on Coronation Street, wrote: “RIP Johnny Briggs. What a wonderful actor he was. Lots of happy memories.”

Jane Danson, aka Leanne Battersby, said: “So sorry to hear Johnny Briggs has passed away. We did lots of [scenes] together. I remember he took the Battersbys out for lunch on our first week filming – happy memories."

Denise Welch, who took up the role of Natalie Barnes in the show from 1997 to 2000, wrote: “Farewell Johnny Briggs. So proud to have worked with such a legend.”

And Antony Cotton, who plays Sean Tully, penned a touching tribute, saying: “Johnny Briggs was a complex character, on and off screen and we all adored him. Feel lucky that I got the chance to work with him in the factory. I am, and will always be, a Baldwin’s Casual. Night night Mr Baldwin, I’ve left you a bottle of Scotch in the filing cabinet…”

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The official Coronation Street Twitter account also posted: “The whole Coronation Street family is deeply saddened by the death of Johnny Briggs.

“In the role of Mike Baldwin, he truly was one of the most iconic characters The Street has ever known.

“We wish Johnny’s family all our condolences.”

Other TV personalities also paid tribute to the legendary actor, who also appeared in things like the Carry On movies.

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GMB presenter Piers Morgan said: “RIP Johnny Briggs, 85. Coronation Street legend who played roguish Mike Baldwin for 30 years. Great character on and off screen.”

Les Dennis, who appeared as Michael Rodwell on Coronation Street between 2014 and 2016, also expressed his grief.

He said: “So sad to hear that Johnny Briggs has died. A charming man and an excellent actor. Mike Baldwin was an iconic character. Thoughts with his family at this sad time. RIP.”

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Johnny wasn’t only known for his time on the cobbles – he also made appearances in Holby City and several Carry On films.

He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement trophy in 2006 at the British Soap Awards.

Months later, he achieved an MBE for the 2007 New Year Honours.

He appeared in more than 2,300 episodes of the ITV soap before leaving in 2006.

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