Actress Sophiya Haque, best known to Coronation Street fans as barmaid Poppy Morales, has died aged 41.
Haque, who was diagnosed with cancer a fortnight ago, passed away on Wednesday night, according to her partner David White.
Haque played Rovers Return barmaid and assistant manager Poppy Morales between December 2008 and June 2009.
Poppy was known for sacking Rovers stalwart Betty Williams from her job at the pub and was later kicked out herself by Becky and Steve McDonald (see the clip below).
A singer, dancer and presenter as well as an actress, Haque began in showbusiness when her band Akasa were signed to Warner Brothers in 1988. That was followed by a job as a presenter on MTV Asia and a move to Mumbai, which in turn led to a career in Bollywood. Parts in Hollywood films, alongside the likes of Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy, followed.
Back in the UK, Haque was a DJ on the BBC’s Asian Network and starred in a number of West End shows including Bombay Dreams and Privates on Parade, which she was working on when she became ill.
The show’s director Michael Grandage posted on Twitter: “We are all devastated by Sophiya Haque’s sudden passing. She was a true force of nature and her glorious performance as Sylvia in Privates on Parade is one that will be remembered with great joy. A spirited lady, she lived life to the full, and her presence in the theatre will be sorely missed. The company would like to dedicate the remaining performances to her memory.”
Stuart Piper, managing director of Haque’s talent agency Cole Kitchenn, said: “Sophiya was one of the most inspirational people I ever met. On stage, it was like you were watching her in close-up even if you were sat at the back of the stalls, such was her star presence and charisma. I am so desperately sad that she has been lost to the world at such a tragically young age, but feel blessed to have known her.”
Watch Sophiya as Poppy Morales in Coronation Street: