Coronation Street star Brian Hibbard dies after losing battle with cancer

Coronation Street actor and Flying Pickets singer Brian Hibbard dies after cancer battleTributes to the 65-year-old Welsh performer flooded Twitter with colleagues and friends describing Hibbard as 'a true gentleman who made me laugh out loud'The father-of-three had battled prostate cancer for 12 years but continued to work, starring in EastEnders only last year

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UPDATED:

15:02 GMT, 18 June 2012

Coronation Street actor and performer Brian Hibbard died today after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Hibbard, 65, first became famous for forming band The Flying Pickets who topped the charts in 1983 with the surprise hit Only You, before moving into acting.

He starred in the cult film Twin Town and appeared in Emmerdale, Coronation Street and EastEnders.

Tributes: Actor and performer Brian Hibbard died today (pictured here in Newport in 2006)

Tributes: Actor and performer Brian Hibbard died today (pictured here in Newport in 2006)

On the cobbles: Brian Hibbard as Doug in Coronation Street

On the cobbles: Brian Hibbard as Doug in Coronation Street

But he was best known for his role as mechanic Doug Murray in Coronation Street in1992 where he was one of Deidre Barlow’s many lovers.

He then went on to star in Emmerdale as Bobby-John Downes and Johnny Mac in the long-running Welsh series Pobol y Cwm.

Hibbard died at his home in Roath, Cardiff with his actress wife Caroline, 52, and three children Lilly, Hafwen and Cai at his bedside.

Hit: Brian Hibbard with the Flying Pickets who had a number one hit in 1983 with Only You

Hit: Brian Hibbard with the Flying Pickets who had a number one hit in 1983 with Only You

Hibbard had first been diagnosed with prostate cancer 12 years ago but only revealed it publicly in 2008.

His health is thought to have taken a turn for the worst eight weeks ago and he was admitted to hospital.

Hibbard, born in Ebbw Vale, South Wales,
worked as a teacher, steel worker, barman and chimney sweep, before
forming the acapella group the Flying Pickets.

They had a huge hit with Only You, with it spending five weeks at the top of the chart and won the coveted Christmas number one slot in 1983.

People react on Twitter to the death of Brian Hibbard

People react on Twitter to the death of Brian Hibbard

Tributes: Colleagues and friends took to Twitter to pay their respects

Tributes: Colleagues and friends took to Twitter to pay their respects

On the dales: Brain played Bobby-John in Emmerdale in 2006

On the dales: Brain played Bobby-John in Emmerdale in 2006

His agent confirmed his death yesterday and tributes were paid to a 'great man and lover of life' by his friends.

This afternoon friends remembered Hibbard, making his name trend over Twitter, many paying tribute to his great sense of humour and enormous talent.

Fellow actor Boyd Clack, who starred in Twin Town with Hibbard, told BBC Wales he first met Hibbard 28 years ago in a Theatr Clwyd production.

He said: 'Within two days of meeting him, he'd shown me his naked bum. He was a bit of a character all right.

'He was also fantastic actor, fantastic singer and a fantastic man. He was an old-fashioned socialist [who] was caring and kind. He did a huge amount of work for charity over the years.

'He was an honest person. He supported the miners during the strike; he supported every cause.'

In the Vic: Brain Hibbard played social worker Henry Mason in EastEnders last year

In the Vic: Brain Hibbard played social worker Henry Mason in EastEnders last year

TV star: Brian also starred in comic drama Tales From Pleasure Beach in 2001

TV star: Brian also starred in comic drama Tales From Pleasure Beach in 2001

Stalwart Hibbard also starred in the Welsh drama Pam Fi, Duw and Twin Town starring Rhys Ifans in 1997.

Hibbard went on to appear in films including Twin Town and television shows with roles in Casualty, Coronation Street and Making Out.

One of his last roles was in EastEnders, playing a former social worker called Henry Mason.