‘EastEnders’ star Leslie Grantham has died, aged 71

EastEnders star Leslie Grantham dies aged 71

Leslie Grantham, the actor best known for playing Dirty Den in EastEnders, has died at the age of 71.

The actor, who also co-hosted the United Kingdom version of French gameshow "Fort Boyard", appeared on "EastEnders" from 1985 to 1989 and returned to the BBC One series from 2003 to 2005.

Leslie's passing comes days after he was reported to be in a critical condition in the United Kingdom having returned from Bulgaria, where he had been living.

'His ex-wife and sons have asked for their privacy to be respected at this hard time'.

"There will be a private funeral which will be attended by close family and friends only".

A statement from his agent confirmed that he passed away this morning.

Grantham's representative said in a statement that the former EastEnders star died on Friday.

Earlier this week it had been reported that Grantham was critically ill in a hospital in the UK.

In 1986 more than half the population - 30 million people - tuned in to the Christmas special to watch Den present his long suffering alcoholism wife Angie with divorce papers after she faked cancer to stop him leaving her.

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Yet the star's lasting legacy is undoubtedly from his scene-stealing presence on EastEnders, where he constantly made waves on Albert Square with his villainous antics. He had been living in Bulgaria but returned to the United Kingdom for hospital treatment.

Tracy, who starred as "Dirty" Den Watts' second wife Chrissie, wrote: "Really sorry to hear about Leslie Grantham".

He is thought to have been in Bulgaria to star in a TV series called "The English Neighbour".

In 2004, he was forced to apologise after he took part in webcam sex sessions from his EastEnders dressing room, the results of which went public.

She added: "He was a wonderful and special actor, witty and very talented".

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