Actress Wendy Richard has died aged 65 after breast cancer spread through her body.

The former Eastenders and Are You Being Served? star battled breast cancer twice in the mid 1990s and in 2002 but was again diagnosed with the disease in October 2008.

It was later revealed that cancer had spread to her kidney, bones and ribs.

Her agent confirmed Richard died on the morning of February 26th in a Harley Street clinic with her fourth husband John Burns by her side.

"She was incredibly brave and retained her sense of humour right to the end," Kevin Francis added.

Having studied at the Italia Conti stage academy in London, she made her TV debut in 1961 before having a number one single as an uncredited singer on Mike Sarne's 1962 hit Come Outside.

Richard found fame as sales assistant Shirley Brahms in the 70s comedy series Are You Being Served? before subsequent success as Pauline Fowler in EastEnders, a role she played from 1985 until the character's death in Christmas 2006.

She won an MBE and a lifetime achievement prize at the British Soap awards in 2007 and wed four times, marrying John Burns at a Mayfair hotel on October 10th 2008.

26/02/2009 13:14:48