Bill Tarmey

Bill Tarmey

Liz Dawn has paid tribute to her former 'Coronation Street' co-star Bill Tarmey, who died yesterday (09.11.12).

The 71-year-old actor - famed for his portrayal of Jack Duckworth on the ITV1 soap for over 30 years - passed away in the Canary Islands on Friday morning and Liz says she is devastated by the news and will miss him greatly.

Liz - who played Bill's on-screen wife, Vera Duckworth, said: "Bill was part of my family. When you work with someone for so long as we did it becomes more than just work. Our families were close and I am devastated for Ali (his wife) and his family.

"I am totally bereft. He will always be remembered by everyone he came into contact with because he was such a kind and generous man. You couldn't wish to meet a more lovely man and a true gentleman.

"He was a gentle giant and I will miss him so much."

Bill Roache - who plays Ken Barlow - also spoke of his sadness over Bill's death and said the character of Jack Duckworth will always hold a place in people's hearts.

He told The Sun newspaper: "Over the years 'Coronation Street' has produced characters who are really powerful and legendary - Jack Duckworth was one of those. He was the downtrodden loveable rogue who never got anything right but was loved by everyone. This was down to Bill Tarmey's incredible skills as an actor, he had amazing comic timing and was a genuinely warm and wonderful human being."

Bill - who suffered a minor heart attack following a bypass operation in 2002 - left 'Coronation Street' in 2010 to care for his son Carl, who was battling a life-threatening brain tumour.

As well as Carl, he and his wife Alma also had a daughter, Sara.