Tributes from the world of Scottish entertainment have been paid to River City star Andy Gray, who has died at the age of 61.
The Perth-based actor appeared as Pete Galloway in the soap between 2017 and 2018, and was also a familiar face from shows such as Rab C Nesbitt and City Lights.
However, he was perhaps best known and loved for his work in pantomimes across the country.
Despite being most associated with the annual show at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh, Gray also made appearances at other venues including His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen.
Tributes were led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who tweeted : “Andy was a legend of the Scottish acting community, from City Lights, to panto, River City and so much more besides.
“He was also a funny and really lovely guy. He will be sorely missed by many.”
So sad to hear this. Andy was a legend of the Scottish acting community, from City Lights, to panto, River City and so much more besides. He was also a funny and really lovely guy. He will be sorely missed by many. My condolences are with his family and friends. https://t.co/98u7aBxzr3
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 18, 2021
Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop called the star a “stage and screen institution” in a tweet.
She added: “[H]is family will sorely miss him but Scotland will also miss one of its best known sons of stage.”
Andy Gray brought so much joy and laughter to theatre audiences. He was a stage and screen institution – his family will sorely miss him but Scotland will also miss one of its best known sons of stage https://t.co/ucCpCUYaIv
— Fiona Hyslop (@FionaHyslop) January 18, 2021
Scottish comedian Fred McAuley wrote on Twitter: “Just heard the dreadfully sad news that Andy Gray has died.
“A genuinely lovely man and as well as being a great actor was a natural wit.
“Condolences to all his close friends and family who will be hurting terribly at this loss.”
The actor was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2018 which forced him to take some time away from the stage.
However, he made a return in time for the following year’s King’s Theatre pantomime, when he was warmly received by his fans in the Edinburgh public.
Steve Carson, director of BBC Scotland, said: “We are deeply saddened by the news that one of Scotland’s much-loved comedy actors and close friend to many at BBC Scotland, Andy Gray has passed away.
“On-screen and in person he could always make you laugh and was one of the kindest people to have around on any production. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
Martin McCardie, executive producer for River City, said: “Everyone at River City, all cast and crew are devastated to hear the extremely sad news that Andy Gray passed away this morning.
“When Andy joined River City in 2016 he had an extremely successful stage, TV and film career behind him, but the character of Pete Galloway turned out to be one of the most popular characters ever to pass through Shieldinch.