Tony Warren, the legendary creator and writer of Coronation Street, has died.
The acclaimed writer, 79, had been suffering from a short illness and passed away surrounded by loving friends yesterday, ITV bosses have confirmed.
Mr Warren's passing will be mourned by the many millions of Coronation Street fans from Chester and the rest of the coutry.
ITV said the programme’s production team as well as actors, past and present, have been left heartbroken by the news.
Mr Warren, who was awarded an MBE for services to broadcasting, created the soap at the age of 24.
A spokesman said: “All who worked with Tony throughout his illustrious career had the utmost respect for his achievements and he remained a Consultant on the Manchester based soap until the day he died.
"He was considered one of the television industry’s greatest minds as he devised the idea for the Weatherfield soap at the age of 24 at the very beginning of his acclaimed writing career.”
Tony Warren in pictures:
William Roache MBE, who has worked with Tony since Coronation Street’s first episode aired on 9 December 1960, said: “When I first met Tony I couldn’t quite believe he’d created and written Coronation Street because he was no more than a young boy.
"It was his boyish energy even recently when I saw him again that I’ll remember. I loved Tony’s energy. He was the father of Coronation Street and he gave us all so much. He will be so desperately missed because of who he was and what he did. We owe him so much.”
Coronation Street actress Helen Worth who worked with Tony for 42 years, said: "Tony was a genius of our time, the dearest funniest and most inspirational man of his generation. He brought real life into our homes for us all to relate to and enjoy. He will of course live on forever through Coronation Street."
WATCH - Tony Warren's memories of Coronation Street:
Coronation Street’s Executive Producer Kieran Roberts, who has spent nearly 15 years working alongside Tony, said: “Tony Warren the writer was a pioneer, a revolutionary, a true genius, a giant of British television.
"He will rightly be remembered around the world as the creator of Coronation Street but those of us lucky enough to have worked on his wonderful show and to have known him will also remember the man: the razor-sharp intelligence; the brilliant, often mischievous sense of humour, the courage and conviction, the passion for people, the immense generosity of spirit and capacity for love.
"We all deeply mourn his passing but celebrate his work and his life, both of which have made the world an infinitely richer place.”
John Whiston, Creative Director, Soaps for ITV Studios paid a moving tribute to Tony: “Amid the many and much deserved tributes to Tony Warren, surely there can be no greater tribute than that the show he created 56 years ago is still the number one show on British TV.
"Tony infused Coronation Street with his own spirit, one that was at the same time dramatic and credible, exciting and grounded, funny and humane.
"It is Tony’s spirit that has kept the show fresh and relevant all these years and will do for years to come. All who are lucky enough to work on the show owe Tony a huge amount of gratitude. As do all the millions who tune into Coronation Street week after week.”
ITV’s Director of Television Kevin Lygo said: “Tony Warren was a charming man who gave ITV and the nation the greatest gift imaginable when he created Coronation Street, an idea that continues to entertain millions on a regular basis. We all owe him an enormous debt of thanks.”