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'My heart will never feel the same without you' - husband's tribute to Babs

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Barbara Windsor and Scott Mitchell

Barbara Windsor and Scott Mitchell

PA

Barbara Windsor and Scott Mitchell

Barbara Windsor's husband has paid tribute to his "wife, best friend and soulmate" saying his "heart or life will never feel the same without you" following her death aged 83.

The actress, one of Britain's most beloved entertainment stars, first found fame in her role as a buxom blonde in the Carry On films and later became a household name playing Peggy Mitchell, the Queen Vic's battle-axe landlady in BBC soap EastEnders.

Windsor was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2014 and made the news public in 2018.

Cherished

She died at 8.35pm on Thursday at a London care home, her husband Scott Mitchell said. He said the cherished actress's final weeks were "typical of how she lived her life" and "full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end".

"Her passing was from Alzheimer's/dementia and Barbara eventually died peacefully and I spent the last seven days by her side," Mr Mitchell said.

"Myself, her family and friends will remember Barbara with love, a smile and affection for the many years of her love, fun, friendship and brightness she brought to all our lives and the entertainment she gave to so many thousands of others during her career.

"Barbara's final weeks were typical of how she lived her life. Full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end.

"It was not the ending that Barbara or anyone else living with this very cruel disease deserve.

"I will always be immensely proud of Barbara's courage, dignity and generosity dealing with her own illness and still trying to help others by raising awareness for as long as she could."

Mr Mitchell, who alongside his wife campaigned for greater dementia care from the British government, added: "Dementia/Alzheimer's remains the UKs number one killer. Although in challenging times, I urge the Prime Minister, his government and other parties to be true to their previous promises and invest more into dementia/Alzheimer's research and care.

"Thank you to all the doctors, nurses and carers who are angels at the care home for your kindness and care to Barbara and I throughout her stay with you. You are my heroes.

"And my gratitude to our family, friends and everyone in the media and the general public for all the good wishes and warm support that has been shown to Barbara over the last few years during her illness. Barbara deeply appreciated that."

At the end of his moving tribute, Mr Mitchell said: "May you rest in peace now my precious Bar. I've lost my wife, my best friend and soul mate and my heart or life will never feel the same without you.

"I will be making no further statements and now need the time to grieve this painful, personal loss."

Windsor made her debut as Peggy in 1994 and soon became one of the small screen's best-loved characters as she yelled at rogue drinkers to "get outta my pub!".

It became the defining role of her career and saw her star alongside Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden as her fictional sons Grant and Phil, with the late Mike Reid as her on-screen husband Frank Butcher.

The character left our screens in 2003 when Windsor took a sabbatical for medical reasons after being diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus, but she returned as a series regular in 2005.

Married

In 2009, the actress announced she would be leaving the soap again in order to spend more time with her husband Scott, who she married in 2000.

She returned for cameo appearances in the soap over the next few years but in 2016 she played Peggy for the final time.

Her final scenes aired in May that year as the Walford stalwart took her own life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Born in Shoreditch, London, in 1937, Windsor launched her showbiz career early, making her stage debut at 13 and her West End debut in 1952.


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