EastEnders star Leslie Grantham poignantly asked a friend “am I dying?” shortly before he died, it’s been revealed.
The actor, 71, who played Dirty Den in the BBC soap opera, died on Friday, and his pals have been sharing intimate memories of their last moments with him.
Joe Tracini, son of comedian Joe Pasquale, was a close friend of Leslie’s and he said: “I held his hand for a while, kissed his forehead and told him I loved him.
“As I left, he bellowed, ‘What, am I f**king dying or something?’”
“We’ll miss you Les,” he added.
Leslie starred alongside Anita Dobson – who played Angie Watts – as Albert Square’s resident wrong ‘un, most momentously on the Christmas Day special in 1986, when 30million people watched him serve her divorce papers.
Anita commented: “He was a good looking guy, he was a charmer, he was funny, he was a good actor. And he was fun to be around. There was always that bit about him that was slightly unpredictable, which I liked and what gave him his edge on TV.”
Letitia Dean – who still plays Sharon Watts, adoptive daughter of Angie and Den – said: “I have very special memories of working with Leslie and will cherish them always.”
Shane Richie – who played Alfie Moon in the soap – said: “Fond memories trying to make each other laugh in front of camera. A natural charmer & genuinely gracious ,he had his demons but don’t we all ! BUT there’s no denying he was & will always be Eastender’s greatest landlord.”
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Leslie died after returning to the UK from Bulgaria to be monitored by doctors.
A statement from his representative said: “We formally announce the loss of Leslie Grantham, who passed away at 10.20am on the morning of Friday 15 June 2018.
“His ex-wife and sons have asked for their privacy to be respected at this difficult time, and for there to be no approaches to them for information or comment.”