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Absolutely Fabulous stars lead tributes to Dame June Whitfield

June Whitfield attending the Absolutely Fabulous The Movie After Party held at Liberty Department Store in London. (Ian West/PA)
June Whitfield attending the Absolutely Fabulous The Movie After Party held at Liberty Department Store in London. (Ian West/PA)

Absolutely fabulous co-stars have led tributes to fellow actress and “inspiration” Dame June Whitfield.

The veteran actor “passed away peacefully” at the age of 93 on Friday, according to her agent.

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to the talent and warmth of the star, whose career in acting spanned eight decades.

During her life in showbusiness, she tackled bawdy comedy in the Carry On films, and starred in the long-running sitcom Terry And June, as well as playing the grandmother in Absolutely Fabulous.

Her co-star on the show Julia Sawalha paid a touching tribute to her fiend and teacher in an online post, tenderly calling the late actress “Gran”.

Joanna Lumley has described herself as “heartbroken” at the news of her friend’s passing.

Taking to Twitter, Sawalha said: “Thank you #damejunewhitfield, for teaching me my craft with such grace and dignity. I always wanted you to know how in awe of you I was, however, you were always far too humble to accept my adoration.

“You were a great source of inspiration to me. Bye-bye Gran.”

Fellow Ab Fab actress Lumley appeared on ITV news to share her sadness at the death of her co-star.

She said: “I am heartbroken to lose such a darling friend and shall never forget her sensational talent, humour and her generosity to us all who had the joy of working with her on Ab Fab.

“She will always have a most special place in my heart.”

Fellow TV comic actor David Walliams also offered his appreciation for the talents of Dame June, calling her achievements in entertainment “brilliant”.

He wrote: “June Whitfield‘s incredible career in British comedy stretched all the way from ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ to ‘Absolutely Fabulous’. She was always there, always being brilliant.”

And Spice Girls singer Emma Bunton paid her own tribute to Dame June, who made her feel comfortable on set.

She wrote on Twitter: “So sad this evening. Such an incredible lady with the warmest heart. I was so nervous working with her but she had a way of making you feel comfortable and special Thank you Dame June Whitfield.”

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