WATCH: Tributes to former Corrie star Roy Barraclough

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Former Coronation Street star Roy Barraclough has died at the age of 81.

A spokesman for the Lancashire-born actor said he died following a short illness.

Roy Barraclough

Roy Barraclough

A star on the stage and screen, Barraclough was best known for his role as Alec Gilroy in the ITV soap.

Gavin Barker Associates said in a statement: "Our client Roy Barraclough has passed away today aged 81 after a short illness."

Barraclough appeared as a talent agent in Corrie in the early 1970s before becoming a regular face on the cobbles from 1986 until 1992 and returning again in 1996 for two years.

As Gilroy, he was best known for his stormy marriage to Bet Lynch, played by Julie Goodyear.

His other TV work includes roles in Casualty, Last Of The Summer Wine and Last Tango In Halifax.

Last year, Barraclough appeared in the BBC's one-off tribute to Are You Being Served? as Mr Grainger.

In 2006, Barraclough was awarded the MBE for services to drama and his charity work.

His philanthropic efforts included more than 20 years as a patron of Willow Wood Hospice in Greater Manchester.

He died at the hospice following his illness.

Barraclough kicked off his career as a comedian and pianist at a holiday camp on the Isle of Wight, before joining the Huddersfield Repertory Company.

In 1964, during his years with Oldham's Coliseum Theatre company, he made his first Corrie appearance as a tour guide, returning later to sell Stan Ogden his window cleaning round and then again as a bed salesman.

The late 1960s saw him take on a range of new TV roles and marked the beginning of his work with comedian Les Dawson, who died in 1993.

Barraclough stepped in to fill the shoes of Dawson's previous partner - who had been put off by his attitude to rehearsing - and the pair went on to create some of the nation's favourite sketches, including gossipy housewives Cissie and Ada.

Following Barraclough's death, Dawson's daughter Charlotte posted a tribute on Twitter: "Omg I'm devastated...at least you get to be reunited with my daddy."

Even after securing his permanent stint on Corrie, he refused to part with his passion for theatre, insisting on taking time every year to appear on stage.

According to his spokesman, it was his continuous need to be written in and out of the show that led writers to give Alec Gilroy a second job as an acts promoter on cruise ships.

Barraclough's final departure from the soap over the Christmas of 1998 saw Gilroy embark on a new life with granddaughter Vicky Arden.

Barraclough's long-standing role was honoured with awards from the Royal Television Society and Manchester Evening News.

After a career spanning more than 55 years, Barraclough amassed friends across the show business industry.

Comedian Matt Lucas posted a picture of the pair filming for 2015 show Pompidou and wrote: "Happy days with Roy Barraclough on 'Pompidou'. Lovely man, brilliant actor."