Dame Barbara Windsor dies aged 83: Tributes pour in for EastEnders and Carry On star

Dame Barbara Windsor, best known for her roles in EastEnders and the Carry On films, has died aged 83, her husband has said. One of Britain's most beloved entertainment stars, she first found fame in her role in the Carry On films and later became a household name playing Peggy Mitchell, the Queen Vic's landlady in BBC soap EastEnders. Dame Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2014 and made the news public in 2018. She died at 8.35pm on Thursday at a London care home, her husband Scott Mitchell told the Press Association. He said the cherished actress's final weeks were "typical of how she lived her life" and "full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end". Mr Mitchell said: "Her passing was from Alzheimer's/dementia and Barbara eventually died peacefully and I spent the last seven days by her side. Windsor met Boris Johnson in 2019 as she campaigned for support for Alzheimer's sufferers Credit: PA "Myself, her family and friends will remember Barbara with love, a smile and affection for the many years of her love, fun, friendship and brightness she brought to all our lives and the entertainment she gave to so many thousands of others during her career. "Barbara's final weeks were typical of how she lived her life. Full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end. "It was not the ending that Barbara or anyone else living with this very cruel disease deserve. I will always be immensely proud of Barbara's courage, dignity and generosity dealing with her own illness and still trying to help others by raising awareness for as long as she could." 'She shone like a beacon' In a statement on Friday, the Alzheimer's Society praised Dame Barbara and her husband, saying it is "incredibly grateful" for their work bringing awareness to the disease. The charity said: "Dame Barbara Windsor was an amazingly true, much-loved national treasure, and in speaking out about her experiences shone like a beacon for others affected by dementia. "Alzheimer's Society is incredibly grateful to have had Barbara and her husband Scott's support - what they achieved over the last couple of years for dementia has been truly awe-inspiring." The charity said Dame Barbara and her husband were instrumental in helping its Dementia Revolution campaign raise £4 million for the Dementia Research Institute. And praising their work calling for improved dementia care from the Government, the Alzheimer's Society said the couple was "always driven by their desire to help those desperately struggling to cope with this devastating condition". With Sid James, her Carry On co-star, at ITV's Christmas party in 1973 Credit: PA Husband pays tribute to nurses' support Mr Mitchell, who has campaigned for greater dementia care from the Government, added: "Dementia/Alzheimer's remains the UK's No 1 killer. "Although in challenging times, I urge the Prime Minister, his government and other parties to be true to their previous promises and invest more into dementia/Alzheimer's research and care. "Thank you to all the doctors, nurses and carers who are angels at the care home for your kindness and care to Barbara and I throughout her stay with you. You are my heroes. "And my gratitude to our family, friends and everyone in the media and the general public for all the good wishes and warm support that has been shown to Barbara over the last few years during her illness. Barbara deeply appreciated that." At the end of his moving tribute, Mr Mitchell said: "May you rest in peace now my precious Bar. "I've lost my wife, my best friend and soul mate and my heart or life will never feel the same without you. "I will be making no further statements and now need the time to grieve this painful, personal loss." With her husband, Scott Mitchell, on a visit to Downing Street last year Credit: PA Role as pugnacious Peggy defined her career Dame Barbara made her debut as Peggy in 1994 and soon became one of the small screen's best-loved characters as she yelled at rogue drinkers to "get outta my pub!". It became the defining role of her career and saw her star alongside Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden as her fictional sons Grant and Phil, with the late Mike Reid as her on-screen husband Frank Butcher. The character left our screens in 2003 when Dame Barbara took a sabbatical for medical reasons after being diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus, but she returned as a series regular in 2005. In 2009, Dame Barbara announced she would be leaving the soap again in order to spend more time with her husband Scott, who she married in 2000. Meeting the Queen in 2001 when Her Majesty visited the set of the Queen Vic Credit: PA She returned for cameo appearances in the soap over the next few years but in 2016 she played Peggy for the final time. Her final scenes aired in May that year as the Walford stalwart took her own life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Before becoming synonymous with Albert Square, Dame Barb

Dame Barbara Windsor dies aged 83: Tributes pour in for EastEnders and Carry On star

Dame Barbara Windsor, best known for her roles in EastEnders and the Carry On films, has died aged 83, her husband has said.

One of Britain's most beloved entertainment stars, she first found fame in her role in the Carry On films and later became a household name playing Peggy Mitchell, the Queen Vic's landlady in BBC soap EastEnders.

Dame Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2014 and made the news public in 2018.

She died at 8.35pm on Thursday at a London care home, her husband Scott Mitchell told the Press Association.

He said the cherished actress's final weeks were "typical of how she lived her life" and "full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end".

Mr Mitchell said: "Her passing was from Alzheimer's/dementia and Barbara eventually died peacefully and I spent the last seven days by her side.

Windsor met Boris Johnson in 2019 as she campaigned for support for Alzheimer's sufferers Credit: PA

"Myself, her family and friends will remember Barbara with love, a smile and affection for the many years of her love, fun, friendship and brightness she brought to all our lives and the entertainment she gave to so many thousands of others during her career.

"Barbara's final weeks were typical of how she lived her life. Full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end.

"It was not the ending that Barbara or anyone else living with this very cruel disease deserve. I will always be immensely proud of Barbara's courage, dignity and generosity dealing with her own illness and still trying to help others by raising awareness for as long as she could."

'She shone like a beacon'

In a statement on Friday, the Alzheimer's Society praised Dame Barbara and her husband, saying it is "incredibly grateful" for their work bringing awareness to the disease.

The charity said: "Dame Barbara Windsor was an amazingly true, much-loved national treasure, and in speaking out about her experiences shone like a beacon for others affected by dementia.

"Alzheimer's Society is incredibly grateful to have had Barbara and her husband Scott's support - what they achieved over the last couple of years for dementia has been truly awe-inspiring."

The charity said Dame Barbara and her husband were instrumental in helping its Dementia Revolution campaign raise £4 million for the Dementia Research Institute.

And praising their work calling for improved dementia care from the Government, the Alzheimer's Society said the couple was "always driven by their desire to help those desperately struggling to cope with this devastating condition".

With Sid James, her Carry On co-star, at ITV's Christmas party in 1973 Credit: PA

Husband pays tribute to nurses' support

Mr Mitchell, who has campaigned for greater dementia care from the Government, added: "Dementia/Alzheimer's remains the UK's No 1 killer.

"Although in challenging times, I urge the Prime Minister, his government and other parties to be true to their previous promises and invest more into dementia/Alzheimer's research and care.

"Thank you to all the doctors, nurses and carers who are angels at the care home for your kindness and care to Barbara and I throughout her stay with you. You are my heroes.

"And my gratitude to our family, friends and everyone in the media and the general public for all the good wishes and warm support that has been shown to Barbara over the last few years during her illness. Barbara deeply appreciated that."

At the end of his moving tribute, Mr Mitchell said: "May you rest in peace now my precious Bar.

"I've lost my wife, my best friend and soul mate and my heart or life will never feel the same without you.

"I will be making no further statements and now need the time to grieve this painful, personal loss."

With her husband, Scott Mitchell, on a visit to Downing Street last year Credit: PA

Role as pugnacious Peggy defined her career

Dame Barbara made her debut as Peggy in 1994 and soon became one of the small screen's best-loved characters as she yelled at rogue drinkers to "get outta my pub!".

It became the defining role of her career and saw her star alongside Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden as her fictional sons Grant and Phil, with the late Mike Reid as her on-screen husband Frank Butcher.

The character left our screens in 2003 when Dame Barbara took a sabbatical for medical reasons after being diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus, but she returned as a series regular in 2005.

In 2009, Dame Barbara announced she would be leaving the soap again in order to spend more time with her husband Scott, who she married in 2000.

Meeting the Queen in 2001 when Her Majesty visited the set of the Queen Vic Credit: PA

She returned for cameo appearances in the soap over the next few years but in 2016 she played Peggy for the final time.

Her final scenes aired in May that year as the Walford stalwart took her own life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Before becoming synonymous with Albert Square, Dame Barbara delighted Carry On fans with her portrayals of a "good time girl," appearing in nine films in a series known for its bawdy humour.

She first appeared in Carry On Spying in 1964, with her final film role coming in 1974's Carry On Dick.

One of Dame Barbara's most famous scenes was in 1969's Carry On Camping, when her bikini top flew off in the middle of an exercise class.

Read more: Barbara Windsor, Kenneth Williams, and the cast of Carry On: what happened next?

The actress was made a dame in the 2016 New Year's Honours list for her services to charity and entertainment.

In 2009 she appeared in the BBC's ancestry show Who Do You Think You Are? in which it was revealed that one of her distant relatives was John Constable, the landscape painter.

Both Dame Barbara and her husband campaigned to raise awareness of Alzheimer's following her diagnosis.

In August this year Mitchell said his wife had been moved to a care home in London.

Read more: How Windsor fought for Alzheimer's sufferers and 'lifted stigma' of disease

Stars remember 'national treasure'

Tributes have poured in from TV stars and friends.

Jonathan Ross, the presenter, tweeted: "Barbara Windsor in real life was everything you might have hoped for. So warm, so funny, so kind. Goodnight sweetheart x".

Matt Lucas, presenter of The Great British Bake Off, said: "It's not an overstatement to say I think the whole country is in mourning today".

He wrote on Twitter: "You don't become a Dame by accident. Everyone knew Barbara Windsor and everyone loved her.

"She delighted us on stage and sparkled on screen in a long and illustrious career. She also worked tirelessly for charity, and continued to do so, even when her own health was failing her.

"Her devoted husband Scott has been utterly selfless and heroic in caring for her and I am devastated for him.

"I will miss her warmth, her generosity, her laughter and the kindness she showed me."

A representative for actor Steve McFadden, who plays Dame Barbara's on-screen son Phil Mitchell in EastEnders, told PA he was "devastated" by her death.

Actress Danniella Westbrook, who played her on-screen daughter Sam Mitchell in EastEnders, tweeted: "MY HEART IS BROKEN .Bar you will always br in my heart forever. Good bye , I LOVE YOU XXX RIP Barbara WINDSOR."

Patsy Palmer, who played Bianca Jackson on EastEnders, has shared a moving tribute to Dame Barbara on Instagram.

Palmer said: "I'm extremely sad to hear that my friend 'Dame' Barbara Windsor has passed away. I'm sitting here thinking of the 100's of memories we shared.

"Too many to comprehend. We were like family for a long time, ups downs, ins and outs but you will never meet a more professional actress than Babs."

Doctor Who star John Barrowman, who was interviewed by Dame Barbara on BBC Radio 2 in October 2011, said in a video on Twitter that the star will be "sorely missed".

Read more: TV won't be the same without Barbara Windsor's laugh