Home and Away's Ruby Buckton faced a heartbreaking decision as the soap returned to screens in Australia today (Monday).
Back in November, the show's 2011 season finale episode left Ruby's mother Charlie in a critical condition after she was shot twice by vengeful Jake Pirovic (Fletcher Humphrys).
Following weeks of speculation over the character's future, today's 2012 premiere saw Charlie rushed to hospital after she was found by her loved ones.
When Charlie's lover Brax (Steve Peacocke) discovered who was responsible for her injuries, he raced off for a dramatic showdown with villainous Jake.
However, Ruby stayed at the hospital and there was heartache in store for the student after Charlie returned from emergency surgery.
Local doctor Sid Walker (Robert Mammone) was forced to break the news to Ruby that Charlie was only being kept alive by a ventilator and, as there was nothing more that medics could do, she would never breathe on her own again.
As Charlie's next of kin, Ruby was then left with the decision over whether her life support should be turned off - which later plunged Brax into turmoil as he was determined not to give up on his girlfriend.
The drama will continue to play out in tomorrow's episode as Ruby was unable to make a decision straight away.
At the weekend, Esther Anderson - who plays Charlie - confirmed her departure from the soap. However, details of the character's final scenes have always been kept tightly under wraps.
Home and Away airs weekdays at 7pm on Network Seven in Australia and weekdays at 1.15pm and 6pm on Channel 5 in the UK.
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