Coronation Street star Bill Tarmey has died at the age of 71

Goodnight Jack: Bill Tarmey has died at the age of 71.
ITV

Coronation Street legend Bill Tarmey has died at the age of 71.

The actor was a familiar face on British television for decades, having starred as Jack Duckworth in the soap for over 30 years.

As well as his acting work he was also a successful singer and released three albums during his career. His 1993 album A Gift of Love reached number 15 in the UK Albums Chart. 

A spokesperson for his family said today: "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."

Bill first joined Coronation Street as an extra to supplement his income while trying to make a career as a nightclub singer, but was offered a regular role in 1979.

Since then he has become a fan favourite along with his on-screen wife Vera.

Bill suffered from many health problems throughout his life, including a heart attack in 2002 that saw him leave the show while he recovered.

Despite this, he did return to the cobbles of Weatherfield until November 2010, when his character died asleep in his chair.

He later revealed that his main motivation for leaving the show was his son's battle with cancer. He told The People at the time: "Absolutely bloody helpless, that's how I feel. And it's the only way I can describe it.

"This is my son and I can do nothing to help make him better. I'm used to being the one who fixes problems."

A spokesperson for the show said today: "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."