Beloved British actor Peter Gilmore has died at the age of 81.

The Carry On star passed away at the Trinity Hospice in London on Sunday (03Feb13) after a "long illness", according to his family.

Gilmore starred in a number of top U.K. Tv shows, including Doctor Who and Heartbeat, but became best known for his lead role in the popular Bbc series The Onedin Line as well as 11 of the comedy caper movies including Carry On Henry and Carry On Cowboy.

Born in Leipzig, Germany in 1931, Gilmore moved to the U.K. at the age of six and was raised in Yorkshire, England before leaving school at the age of 14 to pursue his acting dream.

His first role was in the Tv series Ivanhoe in 1958 and he went on to appear in West End musical stage successes such as Lock Up Your Daughters and The Beggar's Opera.

Gilmore married actress Una Stubbs in 1958 and the pair had one son together, Jason, but separated after 11 years. In 1970 he married stage actress Jan Waters but the couple divorced six years later and Gilmore began living with Anne Stallybrass who played his wife in The Onedin Line. The pair went on to marry in 1987.

His The Onedin Line co-star Jessica Benton tells Britain's Daily Mail, "The Onedin Line was a very happy, long-running series to be involved in and that was all credit to Peter because he made it so. We all became very close friends over the years and had a lot of fun Peter was a gentle man and a gentleman and we sorely miss him."