Johnny Briggs: Coronation Street leads the tributes to the soap legend as actor dies age 85

CORONATION Street has lead the tributes to soap legend Johnny Briggs.

The actor – who played wheeler dealer lothario Mike Baldwin for 30 years on the ITV soap – has died aged 85.

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

Corrie's official Twitter account wrote: "The whole Coronation Street family is deeply saddened by the death of Johnny Briggs. In the role of Mike Baldwin, he truly was one of the most iconic characters The Street has ever known. We wish Johnny's family all our condolences."

Actors and celebrities are out in droves as they moan Johnny's passing.

Piers Morgan lead the tributes, saying: "RIP Johnny Briggs, 85. Coronation Street legend who played rogueish Mike Baldwin for 30yrs. Great character on & off screen"

Corrie's Maria Connor – Samia Longchambon – wrote: "Johnny Briggs. Really sorry to hear the sad news. I have fond memories of working with Johnny, he was such a lovely man"

Fellow Corrie actor Charlie Lawson – who played Jim McDonald – wrote: "Sad news about Johnny Briggs. We had some laughs, played golf together, fell out for a couple of years and then shook hands and made up. I was able to wish him well a few years ago at The Howard Keel."

Antony Cotton – who plays Sean Tully on the cobbles – said: "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…"

Darts champ Keith Deller said: "Met Johnny Briggs a few times on the celebrity golf tour. On one occasion we took our children to watch WWE wrestling when the Rock and stone cold Steve Austin were in Manchester. People recognised him and he had time for everyone RIP Johnny"

In a statement announcing his passing, the soap legend's family 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.”

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.

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