British soap star and Eastenders actress Wendy Richard has lost her battle with cancer. She was 65.
Richard, best known for her long-running role as Pauline Fowler in the hit BBC show, passed away at a Harley Street Clinic in London on Thursday (26Feb09) morning, according to her publicist.
She was diagnosed with a terminal form of the disease last October (08), after previously enduring two cancer battles - one in the early 1990s and again in 2002.
However, the cancer spread to her bones and doctors predicted she had just months to live.
The star married her long-term partner John Burns, her fourth husband, soon after the diagnosis at London's Mayfair Hotel.
Richard shot to fame in the U.K. starring as Miss Brahms in hit 1970s sitcom Are You Being Served?.
She joined the cast of Eastenders when the show debuted on BBC1 in 1985, playing the role of matriarch Pauline Fowler for 22 years until her departure in 2006.
The following year (07), Richard was presented with a British Soap Award for Lifetime Achievement for her role in the show.
In an official statement, Richard's representative says, "She was incredibly brave and retained her sense of humour right to the end."
In a candid interview last year (08), Richard revealed she had made plans for her funeral after she was diagnosed with the deadly illness.