LONDON (AP) – Johnny Briggs, a British actor best known for his role as businessman Mike Baldwin on the long-running television soap opera “Coronation Street”, has passed away. He was 85 years old.

A family declaration stated that Briggs died peacefully on Sunday morning after a long illness.

Briggs was a fixture on Coronation Street and played its role for 30 years. Baldwin, a head of the Cockney clothing factory, became one of the most memorable characters in the fictional town of Weatherfield. John Whiston, director of the drama, said Briggs gave his role a charisma that made it “very difficult to watch others” when he was on screen.

“He really was one of the most famous characters the street has ever known. We wish our condolences to Johnny’s family, ”Whiston said in a statement.

Briggs made his debut on the show as Baldwin in 1976 and stayed until 2006. In the early 1980s, his character’s affair with married Deidre Barlow, played by Anne Kirkbride, took hold of the nation and was one of the show’s most popular storylines. Around 12 million viewers tuned in when his character died of a heart attack.

Briggs was named an MBE or Member of the Best Order of the British Empire at Queen Elizabeth II’s 2006 New Year Honors.

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