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Anne Kirkbride Dies: Iconic British Soaps Actress Was 60

Image: Anne Kirkbride Dies: Iconic British Soaps Actress Was 60
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By    |   Tuesday, 20 Jan 2015 10:38 AM

Anne Kirkbride, the iconic British soap opera actress who played Deirdre Barlow on "Coronation Street" for more than 40 years, has died after a brief illness. She was 60.

Kirkbride died after she was hospitalized for the unspecified illness, according to a statement on ITV's website.

"It is with great sadness that David Beckett has confirmed tonight that his beloved wife and 'Coronation Street' actress Anne Kirkbride has passed away peacefully in a Manchester hospital after a short illness," said the statement. "David and the program's cast and crew are heartbroken and deeply saddened at the loss of Anne who has been a 'Coronation Street' icon for 44 years."

The Guardian reported that in 1993 Kirkbride left "Coronation Street" when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma but returned several months later after treatment.

"I just wanted to die because you just don't want to go on living feeling like that," Kirkbride had told the Daily Mirror. "But you're frightened that if you die you might still feel like that on the other side. There's no escape. It was worse than the cancer in a way because that was going to be over. I knew it was bad but I knew at the end I was going to get better."

"Coronation Street's" executive producer Kieran Roberts said in the ITV statement that over her four decades of work on the show, the public had found a personal connection with Kirkbride's Deirdre Barlow character.

"There are no words to describe the sense of grief we feel at Anne's passing," Roberts said. "We know only too acutely how much Anne meant to the millions of people who watched her create the legendary character of Deirdre Barlow.

BBC News noted that her character's popularity reached new heights in 1998 after Deirdre Barlow was jailed after being duped for mortgage fraud and a real-life campaign, which was even championed by Prime Minister Tony Blair, was started for her release.

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Anne Kirkbride, the iconic British soap opera actress who played Deirdre Barlow on "Coronation Street" for more than 40 years, has died after a brief illness. She was 60.
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Tuesday, 20 Jan 2015 10:38 AM
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