Coronation Street actor Johnny Briggs has died at 85 years old, his family has confirmed.
He was best known for playing Mike Baldwin on ITV’s long-running soap opera, a role that he held for 30 years between 1976 and 2006.
In a statement, his family said he passed away after a “long illness” and asked for privacy at this trying time.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father, Johnny Briggs,” the statement read.
“He passed away peacefully this morning after a long illness, with family by his side. He was 85.
“We politely ask for privacy at this time, so that we can quietly grieve as a family and remember the wonderful times we had with him. Thank you.”
Mike Baldwin featured in a number of iconic Coronation Street moments over the decades, including a love triangle with Deirdre Hunt (Anne Kirkbride) and a story that revealed his “nephew” Danny (Bradley Walsh) was actually his son.
Almost a year after his memorable exit from the soap, in which his character had a heart attack after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Briggs was awarded an MBE in the 2007 New Year Honours.
He later appeared in Agatha Christie’s Marple, ITV’s Echo Beach as well as medical dramas Holby City and Doctors, before retiring from acting.
He returned to the world of Corrie for a brief guest appearance in 2012’s Text Santa special, portraying the ghost of Mike Baldwin in a sketch inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Prior to joining the cast of Corrie, Briggs had taken roles in The Saint, Thick As Thieves, On The Buses and multiple Carry On films, among other projects.
Tributes have been made to Briggs on social media by fans and media figures, including former co-star Antony Cotton, who said he felt “lucky” to have been able to work with him.
“I am, and will always be, a Baldwin’s Casual,” he added.
Johnny Briggs was a complex character, on and off screen, and we all adored him. Feel lucky that I got the chance to work with him in the factory. I am, and will always be, a Baldwin’s Casual. Night night Mr Baldwin, I’ve left you a bottle of Scotch in the filing cabinet… pic.twitter.com/eyo7e9Km9r— Antony Cotton (@antonycotton) February 28, 2021
This was echoed by fellow Corrie actor Samia Longchambon, who has played Maria on the soap since 2000, and described Briggs as “such a lovely man”.
#RestInPeace Johnny Briggs. Really sorry to hear the sad news. I have fond memories of working with Johnny, he was such a lovely man ♥️🙏— Samia Longchambon (@realsamia) February 28, 2021
In addition, Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan praised Briggs as a “great character on and off screen”.
RIP Johnny Briggs, 85.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 28, 2021
Coronation Street legend who played rogueish Mike Baldwin for 30yrs. Great character on & off screen. pic.twitter.com/klr8CTLUa9