Actress Diana Rigg, famous for roles including Emma Peel in TV series The Avengers and Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones, has died at the age of 82.

The Emma Peel role - for which she famously wore a black catsuit - turned Rigg into a superstar in the 1960s, and the surreal style of The Avengers is as much a symbol of the Swinging 60s as the Beatles.

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Peel was as much a feminist icon as a sex symbol - no mean feat back then, but one Rigg applied herself to during a two-season run in the hugely successful show, in which she co-starred with Patrick Macnee, who played John Steed.

Diana Rigg's daughter, actress Rachael Stirling confirmed the news of her passing. In a statement, she said: "My Beloved Ma died peacefully in her sleep, early this morning at home, surrounded by family.

"She died of cancer diagnosed in March and spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter and a deep pride in her profession. I will miss her beyond words".

Rachael Stirling pictured with her mam Diana Rigg in 2014

Last year she told the BBC how much she enjoyed playing Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones: "I love playing bad [characters]. They are so much more interesting than good.

"There are some actors who don't like to play bad; they like to be liked. I love to be disliked. Olenna had the best lines."

John Bradley, who starred as Samwell Tarly in Game of Thrones said Rigg was "just wonderful".

Posting a tribute to the actress on Twitter, he said: "Diana Rigg was just wonderful. But you all knew that already. Everybody did. Very sad news."

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Rigg also played Tracy, the only woman who ever became Mrs Bond, in the 1969 James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

A statement from her agent Simon Beresford said: "It is with tremendous sadness that we announce that Dame Diana Rigg died peacefully early this morning.

"She was at home with her family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time. Dame Diana was an icon of theatre, film, and television.

"She was the recipient of Bafta, Emmy, Tony and Evening Standard Awards for her work on stage and screen.

"Dame Diana was a much loved and admired member of her profession, a force of nature who loved her work and her fellow actors. She will be greatly missed." 

Diana Rigg and George Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Rigg won a Best Actress Bafta TV award in 1990 for playing a difficult mother-in-law in Mother Love. She also won a Bafta special award in 2000 for The Avengers, shared with the series' other female stars, Honor Blackman (who preceded her), and her successors Joanna Lumley and Linda Thorson.

Paying tribute on Twitter the official Bafta account wrote:  "We're sad to hear of the passing of Dame Diana Rigg, Bafta-winner for her performance in Mother Love in 1990 and joint recipient of the Bafta Television Special Award in 2000 for The Avengers." 

Rigg was also nominated for nine primetime Emmy awards, winning for her role as Mrs Danvers in Rebecca in 1997.