The Bill, At Home With The Braithwaites star Lynda Bellingham, OBE, dies

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Cancer has taken her.  She kept working until the end, so her death has surprised many.  

The 66-year-old star, best known for her long-running role as a mother in the Oxo TV adverts, had been battling colon cancer, which later spread to her lungs and liver, since being diagnosed in July last year. She died in the arms of her husband Michael in hospital on Sunday, her agent Sue Latimer said. The actress said she decided to end her treatment on August 13 to limit the amount of suffering her family would witness.

In a statement on behalf of Bellingham’s family, her agent, Sue Latimer, said: “Lynda died peacefully in her husband’s arms yesterday evening at a London hospital.

“Her family, to whom she was devoted, would like to thank the nurses and staff for their tremendous care and support.

“As an actor, writer and presenter, Lynda was a consummate professional to the very end. Those of us privileged to have known her personally will miss the entertaining, life enhancing, true and honest friend that blessed our lives.”

Ms Bellingham’s decision to end her treatment was revealed in a newspaper serialisation of her forthcoming autobiography.

She said: “The decision to give up chemo was a huge relief because I took back some control of myself. It’s there on the table if I want it.

“I don’t want the boys or my husband to see me die a little sad old lady. I want to go out there as I am.”

She said she wanted her autobiography to be “uplifting”, adding: “I wrote the book for everybody out there.

“It’s not supposed to be an embarrassing account of me having terminal cancer.

“I wanted to write it for everybody who is given that curveball and say of course there are no answers but, if you can, take it and make it positive and talk about dying.

“If two people read this book and think ‘Actually, that’s how I feel and I’m not on my own’, then I’ll have done something half decent.”

Ms Bellingham, who took part in the 2009 series of Strictly Come Dancing, was also a panellist on ITV show Loose Women in recent years.

She filmed a special farewell episode of the ITV show, which is yet to air, in which she received a standing ovation.

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Capt H. M. Murdock

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