Actor and voiceover artist Tony Armatrading has died at the age of 59, following a battle with cancer.
Friend Tim Bentinck — star of Radio 4 soap The Archers — announced the sad news on Twitter, writing: "Very sad news. My dearest friend Tony Armatrading died of cancer an hour ago. I had the privilege of being his best man, and loved him dearly. He was a wonderful actor, and a true friend. This pic of him with Suzy and Dash taken last night."
He shared a picture of Armatrading in a hospital bed, taken with his wife Suzan Crowley and their pet dog Dash shortly before his death.
Silk star Frances Barber was among those to pay tribute to him, writing: "Oh good grief! devastating. I worked with Tony in Return to Blood River for BBC years ago, and then caught up with him & Suzy in LA a few years ago. Really happy times. Such a wonderful man. Such a wonderful actor. I’m completely shocked. RIP dearest man."
EastEnders star Phil Daniels tweeted: "Lovely man he made a difference RIP mate x."
Armatrading was the younger brother of Brit and Grammy award-nominated singer Joan Armatrading, 70.
He appeared opposite Val Kilmer in 1997 Hollywood movie The Saint, and was the voice of Sith Xalek in the Star Wars: The OId Republic video game series.
He also had roles in TV dramas Death In Paradise, Hawaii Five-O, Prison Break and The Bill.
And his character married Niamh Cusack's in the 1998 TV adaptation of Catherine Cookson's Colour Blind.
Born in 1961, Armatrading began his career in the entertainment industry as a member of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre stage crew when he was a teenager.
He went on to join the stage crew at the National Theatre in London and after obtaining his Equity Card began acting on stage.
As well as roles in well-known films and TV shows both in the UK and Hollywood, Armatrading is remembered for his theatre performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in productions including Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.
He relocated to Los Angeles in 2000.
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