LOOSE Women star Denise Welch led the tribute to former EastEnders star Josephine Melville this evening.
Josephine, best known for playing Tess Parker on the soap in the 1980s, died backstage on Thursday evening after performing in a play.
Josephine Melville has tragically passed away
She appeared in Ella Henderson’s music video earlier this year
She was performing as Aunty Maggie in a production of Nine Night at Nottingham Playhouse.
Taking to Twitter following the news, Denise Welch wrote: “So so sad. A wonderful actress .”
Her fellow cast member and former Corrie star Andrea Davy, who played Trudy, said: “Such a pleasure and honour to work with you Josephine. RIP.
“Our Nine Night family is lost without you. One Love Aunty Maggie! Trudy.”
Bridgeton star Adjoa Andoh, who plays Lady Danbury, and also appeared in EastEnders, shared: “Ach…I’m so shocked. A wonderful actress. Amazing comic timing.
“Part of a community of artists who understood the power of black stories. All blessings & condolences to the family. Full of light, rest in your power Jo.”
Actor Michael Maris added: “So sad. [She] was always pleasant and helpful with me.”
Nottingham Playhouse said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that last night the actor Josephine Melville, passed away backstage at Nottingham Playhouse following the performance of the play Nine Night, in which she was performing.
“Josephine’s family have been informed, and our thoughts and deep condolences are with them.
“Josephine received immediate assistance from Nottingham Playhouse first aiders and a medically qualified member of the Nine Night audience.
“Josephine was a truly wonderful and well-loved person, a revered and deeply respected performer, director, producer, archivist and writer, and a tremendous Auntie Maggie in Nine Night.
“We are offering our full support to her family, our onstage and production crew and all staff at this awful time.”
Josephine also performed in singer Ella Henderson’s music video Brave earlier this year.
She starred in The Bill, Prime Suspect 2 and Hold HOARset.
The actress starred in EastEnders