Beloved British actor Bill Tarmey has died aged 71 after a long battle with ill health.

Tarmey, who was known to millions in his native country as hapless family man Jack Duckworth in long-running soap opera Coronation Street, passed away on Friday (09Nov12) on the Spanish island of Tenerife. No further details were available as Wenn went to press.

Born in Manchester, England, Tarmey worked in the construction industry for many years but quit to become a nightclub entertainer in the late 1960s.

To supplement his income, he also worked as an extra on Tv shows before landing the role of Duckworth in 1979, a part he played for more than 30 years before retiring in 2010 due to his failing health.

Tarmey suffered a number of health issues during his life, including a heart attack and a stroke in the 1970s, and severe breathing problems. In 1986, he underwent quintuple bypass surgery, and he had a pacemaker fitted after a second heart attack in 2002.

He leaves his wife Alma and their two adult children, son Carl and daughter Sara.

A statement from Coronation Street bosses reads, "The cast, crew and production team at Coronation Street are devastated to hear of Bill's death. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bill's wife and soulmate Ali and their family at this very sad time."