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Corrie star Geoffrey loses cancer battle.

Byline: PAUL COLE

CORONATION Street legend Geoffrey Hughes, who started his career in the Midlands, has died at the age of 68.

The star, famed for his role as Coronation Street binman Eddie Yates, died on Friday night "peacefully in his sleep" after a "long courageous battle" with prostate cancer, according to his family.

Hughes also played Twiggy in TV comedy The Royle Family and Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances.

The actor known to millions as binman Eddie in the soap during the 1970s and 1980s, was rushed to hospital for intense radiotherapy in 2010 after collapsing at his Isle of Wight home.

He had thought he had beaten prostate cancer the previous year, but the star and his wife Sue were given bombshell news that the disease had returned.

Hughes started his career in repertory at the Victoria Theatre in Stokeon-Trent. This was followed by his first West End production, the Lionel Bart and Alun Owen musical, Maggie May.

His big TV breakthrough came when he appeared in 1960s classics such as Z-Cars and The Likely Lads, and he was also the voice of Paul McCartney in the Beatles film The Yellow Submarine.

In 1974 he was cast as binman Eddie Yeats in Coronation Street and over the next nine years became best friend of Stan Ogden (played by the late Bernard Youens), a foil to Stan's long-suffering wife Hilda (Jean Alexander).

Fans Many fans still regard these performances as a high point of the series. But Hughes left the show in 1983, making a brief final return appearance in 1987 as part of Hilda's departure from the series. In recent years he had been made several offers to return to the Street, but declined.

Other roles included Vernon in Heartbeat and Uncle Keith in teen drama Skins. Hughes also gueststarred in episodes of Doctor Who, Casualty, Boon and The Upper Hand.

In 2009 he was appointed Deputy Lord Lieutenant for the Isle of Wight, making him "the official link between the island and royalty at formal engagements".

A Coronation Street spokeswoman said: "We are very sad to hear of the death of Geoffrey Hughes. He created a legendary and iconic character in Eddie Yates who will always be part of Coronation Street.

"Everyone connected with the programme send our sincerest condolences to his family."

Tributes poured in for the actor as word spread of his death.

Long-serving Coronation Street star William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in the soap, said: "I am so sorry to hear about Geoffrey. He was a warm, lovable actor, with great comedy timing.

"He will be greatly missed."

paul.cole@trinitymirror.com

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'COURAGEOUS BATTLE': Geoffrey Hughes as Eddie in Corrie.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Jul 29, 2012
Words:449
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