EastEnders star Leslie 'Dirty Den' Grantham dies

EastEnders Den Watts star Leslie Grantham dies aged 71

The announcement of his death comes after it was revealed earlier this week that the actor had flown back to the United Kingdom from Bulgaria - where he penned his debut children's book Jack Bates and The Wizard's Spell - to receive medical attention.

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

His tumultuous marriage to alcoholic wife Angie captivated the nation and more than 30 million people - at the time over half of the United Kingdom population - tuned in to the 1986 Christmas special to watch Den present her with divorce papers.

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

The star was best known for his on-screen partnership with actress Anita Dobson who played his long-suffering wife Angie in EastEnders.

Grantham's management, Advocate Agency, says he died Friday, June 15, 2018 but did not disclose the cause of death.

"His ex-wife and sons have asked for their privacy to be respected at this hard time, and for there to be no approaches to them for information or comment".

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Grantham left the show in 1989, when his character was apparently shot - only to be resurrected in 2003.

"They will not be making any statements to the media". He had recently returned from Bulgaria, where he had been living, to the UK.

Gillian Taylforth, who plays Kathy Beale, also spoke of her "many happy memories" of working with Leslie and added: "Those iconic Christmas episodes were legendary and they will always be part of EastEnders history". "There will also be a private funeral which will be attended by close family and friends".

He was convicted for murdering a West German taxi driver while serving in the army in 1967, which saw him imprisoned for a "life sentence" of 10 years.

He even took his talents overseas, finding fame on Bulgarian TV series The English Neighbour.

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

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