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Legendary British actor Dame Barbara Windsor has died.
The Eastenders and Carry On star's husband Scott Mitchell has confirmed the tragic news to PA Agency.
The acting legend, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 2014, died at 8.35pm on Thursday at a London care home, with Mitchell saying in a statement: "Her passing was from Alzheimer's/dementia and Barbara eventually died peacefully and I spent the last seven days by her side.
"Myself, her family and friends will remember Barbara with love, a smile and affection for the many years of her love, fun, friendship and brightness she brought to all our lives and the entertainment she gave to so many thousands of others during her career.
'Barbara's final weeks were typical of how she lived her life - full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end."
He continued: "It was not the ending that Barbara or anyone else living with this very cruel disease deserve. I will always be immensely proud of Barbara's courage, dignity and generosity dealing with her own illness and still trying to help others by raising awareness for as long as she could.
"Dementia/Alzheimer's remains the UKs number one killer. Although in challenging times, I urge the Prime Minister, his government and other parties to be true to their previous promises and invest more into dementia/Alzheimer's research and care."
He went on to thank 'all the doctors, nurses and carers who are angels', calling his late wife's medical team his 'heroes'.
The statement continued: "And my gratitude to our family, friends and everyone in the media and the general public for all the good wishes and warm support that has been shown to Barbara over the last few years during her illness.
"Barbara deeply appreciated that."
Concluding, Mitchell said: "May you rest in peace now my precious Bar. I've lost my wife, my best friend and soul mate and my heart or life will never feel the same without you. I will be making no further statements and now need the time to grieve this painful, personal loss."
Upon hearing the sad news, fans and fellow celebrities were quick to flock to social media to pay tribute to the star, who had developed a devoted fanbase thanks to her role as Peggy Mitchell in popular soap opera Eastenders, after she found fame thanks to the Carry On films.
I met Barbara Windsor in 1991. I was a terrified work experience boy who took her some tea. She called me a 'handsome gentleman'. She struck me as a kind person. What else matters?
- Rob Williams (@BobJWilliams) December 11, 2020
She set the bar for the best slap, the most aggressive drink throw and taught us all the power of lashing on the lippy and taking on the world head on, with the armour of an immaculate blow dry and a sharp tongue. Talk about an absolutely whopper actress. G'WAN. PEGGY. (2/2)
- James Patrice (@JamesPatrice) December 11, 2020
One fan wrote on Twitter: "When I was an Eastenders obsessed 12 year old, Barbara Windsor was having dinner in the same hotel as we were at for a wedding. She was so so kind and had pictures with all of us kids (and Grandad Harry who still has his photo framed on the wall) - a true legend."
Another added: "Incredibly sad about Dame Barbara Windsor. I remember having a good chat with her about girl power at a Spice Girls gig, and she was warm, funny and delightful. And such a good actress. Alzheimer's is a horribly cruel disease. Thoughts with Scott."
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