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Jean Alexander, who played Coronation Street's Hilda Ogden, dies aged 90

21 October 2016

Born Jean Hodgkinson, she played busy body cleaner Hilda for 23 years, from July 1964 until 1987.

With her curlers, headscarf and piercing voice that could not be ignored, Hilda Ogden was, to many, the most iconic character in Coronation Street's 56-year history.

She played Howard's aunt in Last Of The Summer Wine for two years as a guest role, before then returned to the show in 1992 as a regular cast member, a role she would keep until the show was cancelled in 2010.

But on Tuesday she was readmitted to hospital, three days before her death.

Although she never married, Jean enjoyed close family life, with one of the last pictures of her showing her laughing happily alongside her brother.

Her niece Sonia Hearld, 64, told the Press Association that Alexander, who announced her retirement in 2012, had recently spent time in hospital.

He said: "She could make you laugh, particularly with Hilda's comedy singing, but she could also deliver incredibly moving performances and make you cry".

She chose to leave the soap in 1987, in spite of a campaign by fans to persuade her to stay.

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"I loved her to bits, ' the actress said of the character".

Jean Alexander has died today in Southport in the UK.

People took to Twitter to remember the hilarious actress who was one of the cornerstones of Coronation Street. "Rest in Peace Jean x".

"The hospital phoned me and said they were very sorry but Jean had passed away".

Alexander's first appearance in Coronation Street was in 1962, when she briefly played a landlady. "I am surprised that so many people remembered Hilda, considering it was so long ago that I played her".

Coronation Street stars have been paying tribute to the actress who brought many fans to the show.

"That takes real skill and real acting but also real humanity".

She was honoured by BAFTA and The Royal Television Society during her career and in 2005 she was one voted Britain's Greatest Soap Opera Star of all time.

Jean Alexander, who played Coronation Street's Hilda Ogden, dies aged 90