Actor Clive Hornby, who played Jack Sugden in ITV1 soap Emmerdale, has died at the age of 63.
It was announced in January that Hornby would be taking a break from the soap because of ill health.
The star had been in Emmerdale for 28 years after signing up on a three-month contract and was the soap's longest-serving cast member.
Hornby, the second actor to play Jack Sugden, enjoyed success as drummer with 1960s Liverpool band The Dennisons.
Chris Chittell, who plays Eric Pollard in Emmerdale, said Hornby "meant everything to everyone".
"He was a very private and courageous man and not only a great contributor to the show but also to all our lives," he added.
"He was a great guy and therefore will obviously be missed."
Series producer Anita Turner said Hornby's portrayal of a farmer was "utterly believable".
Hornby's character Jack Sugden had five children
"He never looked happier to me than when he was there on the farm with his sleeves rolled up saving a sheep or just leaning on a fence looking out over the Dales."
She added: "I have always said that Emmerdale is a family.
"Today we lost our father."
After The Dennisons split up, Hornby became an actor, attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art before working in repertory theatre.
He went on to appear in a number of TV shows including Gerry Anderson's Space 1999 and army sitcom Get Some In, which also starred My Family actor Robert Lindsay.
He also featured in comedy series Minder alongside George Cole.
Hornby's Emmerdale character married three times and had five children.
Jack, the son of Jacob and Annie Sugden, married teenage sweetheart Pat in 1982 but she died in 1986 leaving him to bring up their baby, Robert, on his own.
Second wife Sarah Connolly, who he married in 1994, died in a barn fire in 2000.
Jack later married pub landlady Diane Blackstock.
Speaking last year to the Daily Mirror about his early days in the show, Hornby said: "It really was about farming then - I'd milk the cows, drive the combine harvester, plough fields.
"On my first day on location, we had to deliver a calf.
"I wish there could be more of that stuff because we've got this lovely backdrop we don't use as much."
The actor noted that he still wore the same flat cap he was given on his first day.