Bill Tarmey, best known for playing Jack Duckworth in the long running British soap opera 'Coronation Street', has passed away due to ill health at the age of 71.

The star had been suffering from poor health for half his life having had a heart attack at the age of 35 and a stroke only a year later. He had two heart bypass operations in his life and smoked cigarettes until his death despite needing an oxygen mask to help him to breathe. His death comes only two years after he retired from Corrie; which, incidentally, was due to his rapidly failing health. He leaves behind his wife of 50 years Alma, his son Carl, 38, and his daughter Sara, 42, and members of his family have released this statement: 'The family of Bill Tarmey have confirmed that he sadly passed away this morning in Tenerife. They have respectfully asked the media for privacy as they grieve for a wonderful husband, father and brother.'

His Corrie castmates have left tribute messages for him on Twitter: Charlie Condou  who plays  Marcus Dent wrote, 'I am devastated to hear that the wonderful Bill Tarmey has died. He was a beautiful, funny and lovely man, and he will be missed by us all' and Antony Cotton who plays Sean Tully's message read, 'Goodnight Bill Tarmey. You were the best. We'll miss you so much x.'