Johnny Briggs' devastated family reveal Coronation Street legend died after long illness in heartbreaking statement

CORONATION Street legend Johnny Briggs' devastated family revealed the soap star died after a long illness in a heartbreaking statement.

The 85-year-old, who played Mike Baldwin for 30 years, died with his family by his side.

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 In a statement they said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father, Johnny Briggs.

“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."

Johnny joined the soap in 1976 and went on to appear in 2,349 episodes before he left the show in 2006.

His character, Mike, had been suffering with Alzheimer's for months and collapsed in the street after a heart attack, dying in the arms of Ken.

Father-of-six Johnny was married twice, to Caroline Sinclair from 1961 to 1975 and Christine Allsop from 1977 to 2006.

The keen golfer split his time between a home in Portishead, North Somerset, UK, and a house in Florida.

The love triangle between Mike, Ken and Deirdre rumbled on for years and proved a huge ratings winner for Corrie.

When an episode aired featuring Deirdre ending her relationship with Mike and returned to Ken it was became one of the soap's highest rated installments.

It was such big news that it was announced on the Old Trafford scoreboard during a Manchester United v Arsenal match, with the words "Ken and Deirdre reunited. Ken 1 – Mike 0" resulting in cheers from the spectators.

Johnny left Corrie saying he wanted to spend more time with his family and playing golf in America's sunshine state. He always said he hated British summers as he suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

His departure led to an increased profile on the show for a new character, his nephew Danny, played by Bradley Walsh.

When Johnny left Corrie his two-year contract had just expired and he turned down another £200,000 a year deal.

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