Actress Shirley Stelfox, best known for her role as Edna Birch in Emmerdale, has died after a short illness.

The 74-year-old, who had starred on the ITV soap for the last 15 years, had been diagnosed with cancer.

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ITV executive producer John Whiston said: “The family here at Emmerdale are deeply saddened by Shirley’s passing, it is hard to imagine Emmerdale without her.

“We offer our condolences to Shirley’s family and share our feeling of loss with the millions of viewers who will miss Edna enormously.”

Stelfox also starred in The Bill, Coronation Street and Crossroads, and was the first Rose in Keeping Up Appearances.

Her film credits included a role opposite John Hurt in the movie adaptation of George Orwell’s novel 1984.

Tributes to Stelfox on Twitter: