Peter Gilmore has died at the age of 81.

The British star of TV drama 'The Onedin Line' passed away at a hospice in London on Sunday (03.02.13) after suffering from an ongoing illness, a family member stated.

Peter was born in Germany in 1931 and moved to the UK aged six, where he grew up in Yorkshire.

The much-loved actor starred in 91 episodes of the BBC drama series for over 10 years from 1971, in which he played shipping magnate James Onedin.

His 'Onedin Line' co-star, actress Jessica Benton, described him as ''a gentle man and a gentleman''.

She said: '' '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. We sorely miss him.''

Peter's agent Primie Carey released a statement on behalf of his wife Anne Stallybrass and the rest of his family.

She said: ''On behalf of his wife Anne and Peter's family I would like to thank those who have sent their kind thoughts and condolences.''

Peter began his journey to stardom at 14 after he left school and joined a singing group, starring in some musicals with little success.

He landed his first major role in 1958 as Sir Waldo of Ivanhoe in the TV series 'Ivanhoe' before moving to the stage in London's West End in shows like 'The Beggar's Opera' and 'Lock Up Your Daughters'.

Peter also starred in several of the humorous 'Carry On Films' as well as playing the lead role in cult classic 'Warlords of the Deep'.

Peter's last job was made-for-TV film 'On Dangerous Ground' alongside Hollywood actor Rob Lowe.