Coronation Street star Johnny Briggs who played Mike Baldwin for 30 years on the soap has died aged 85.
The soap legend passed away at his home this morning after a long illness, his family said.
A family statement said: ‘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.’
Briggs split his time between a home in Portishead, North Somerset, UK, and a house in Florida though it is unclear where he was staying at time of his death.
He played underwear factory boss Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street from 1976 to 2006 and received an MBE in 2007.
He appeared in 2,349 episodes, including a 2012 special as a ghost, and is best remembered for his famous feud with Ken Barlow, played by Bill Roache, after he had an affair with his wife Deirdre, played by the late Anne Kirkbride.
Johnny Briggs, after collecting an MBE in 2007. The actor who played Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street, died on Sunday aged 85 after a long illness, his family said
Briggs played Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street from 1976 to 2006 and received an MBE in 2007
The love triangle between the three was hugely popular with viewers and carried on for years.
In the 1980s the storyline helped to pull in 21 million viewers at its height.
His character, Mike, had been suffering with Alzheimer’s for months and collapsed in the street after a heart attack, dying in the arms of Ken.
Piers Morgan led tributes to the Coronation Street actor on social media.
‘RIP Johnny Briggs, 85,’ he tweeted. ‘Coronation Street legend who played rogueish Mike Baldwin for 30yrs. Great character on & off screen.’
John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the north, paid tribute.
‘The whole Coronation Street family is deeply saddened by the death of Johnny Briggs,’ he said in a statement.
‘For years Johnny was right at the centre of the show, playing the part of Mike Baldwin and bringing to the role huge energy, dynamism, professionalism and credibility.
Character Mike had been suffering with Alzheimer’s for months and collapsed in the street after a heart attack to end Briggs’ stint on the show
Johnny Briggs made his Corrie debut as Mike in 1976 and remained on the cobbles until 2006
‘When Mike Baldwin was in a scene it was very hard to look at anyone else.
‘And it was that charisma which made him irresistible to the women of Coronation Street, and to viewers.
‘He truly was one of the most iconic characters the Street has ever known. We wish Johnny’s family all our condolences.’
Emmerdale actor John Bowe tweeted: ‘RIP Johnny Briggs. Never forgotten introducing you to Guacamole!’
Conservative MP for Bournemouth West, Conor Burns, tweeted: ‘Sad to hear Johnny Briggs has died.
‘A great actor who brought pleasure to millions through his character Mike Baldwin.
‘Will always be remembered for some of @itvcorrie most dramatic, funny and moving scenes. The passing of an era on the cobbles. RIP.’
Former Corrie writer Phil Ford tweeted: ‘Very very sad to hear that actor Johnny Briggs has died.
‘Knew him during my time on Corrie. Many a lunchtime chat. Lots of smiles.’
The London-born actor also appeared on stage and in films, alongside the likes of Norman Wisdom, Dirk Bogarde and Tommy Steele.
A father of six, Johnny was married twice, first to Caroline Sinclair from 1961 to 1975 and then to Christine Allsop from 1977 to 2006.