Bill Treacher, best known for his role as Arthur Fowler in EastEnders, has died aged 92, according to a statement shared by his family.
Treacher was one of the original cast in the BBC soap opera, appearing in the very first episode in February 1985 and continuing to feature up to 1996.
In a statement, his family confirmed the actor’s health had been “declining for some time”.
“Bill was a brilliant actor and a wonderful husband and father, plus a very fine human being,” the message continued. “He will be hugely missed.”
The statement also confirmed that Treacher died on Saturday (November 5), adding he “was much loved by his wife, Kate, his son, Jamie and his daughter, Sophie”.
An EastEnders spokesperson said: “It is with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Bill Treacher. As one of our original cast members, Bill created a much loved character in Arthur Fowler and, alongside Wendy Richard, they created an iconic family in the Fowlers who still remain at the heart of the show.
“Bill left EastEnders in 1996 so it is a true testament to both he, and the character that he created in Arthur, that he is still thought of so fondly. Bill will always be remembered for his charm, sense of humour – with a smile that lit up the room – and more importantly as a family man who was devoted to his wife and children.
“Bill will forever be held in great affection by everyone at EastEnders and all those that loved watching him.”
Adam Woodyatt, who previously played Ian Beale in the show, said he had “so many memories of working with Bill” in a statement (via BBC): “He would get this twinkle in his eye, you’d start laughing and he never got the blame.
“I used to love it when he was trying to remember his lines in rehearsal and he would just blunder and bluster until the correct word came out.”
As well as his memorable role as Fowler, Treacher also went on to make TV appearances in The Bill and Casualty. His film credits included George And The Dragon, The Musketeer, and Tale Of The Mummy.