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'Coronation Street's Betty Driver dies aged 91

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Betty Williams (played by Betty Driver) with a hotpot

© ITV

Coronation Street legend Betty Driver has died aged 91, it has been announced.

The actress, who played Rovers Return barmaid Betty Williams for 42 years, "died peacefully in hospital" early on Saturday morning, an ITV spokesman confirmed. She had been in hospital for six weeks.

Driver, who was appointed an MBE in 1999, had been suffering from ill health since May, when she was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia.

She celebrated her 91st birthday at the hospital and later said she was looking forward to returning to Coronation Street.

"I am looking forward to getting back to work. It's lovely in here, but I am looking forward to getting home soon. It's been a wonderful birthday," she said at the time.

"She will be sadly missed by everyone who knew her," the spokesman added.

Coronation Street's executive producer Kieran Roberts said: "Betty was a wonderful actress and remarkable woman. It is humbling to think that the 42 years she spent on Coronation Street was just half of her extraordinary career, but Coronation Street certainly benefited when she decided to join our show in 1969.

"For more than four decades she delighted many millions of Coronation Street fans with her fantastic performance in countless great stories, both dramatic and comic. Betty was always a delight to work with and whilst there is a great sadness at her passing away, Betty will be remembered by everyone on Coronation Street with tremendous admiration and affection."

Fellow Coronation Street star Julie Goodyear, who played Bet Lynch, commented: "It was an honour and a privilege to work with Betty Driver for 25 years. We laughed together, we cried together and never once had a cross word.

"She was a totally professional actress. A true icon and legend and a very dear friend. She will be missed and remembered by millions."

Barbara Knox, who plays Rita Sullivan, added: "I have lost a very dear friend and the Street has lost a very great character, a professional to her fingertips - she will be greatly missed."

> Read a full list of tributes from the Coronation Street cast and other stars from the world of soap Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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