Coronation Street actor Johnny Briggs, who was famous for his role as Mike Baldwin in the popular soap, has died aged 85.

A statement from his family said he passed away after a long illness.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father, Johnny Briggs," the statement said.

"He passed away peacefully this morning after a long illness, with family by his side. He was 85.

"We politely ask for privacy at this time, so that we can quietly grieve as a family and remember the wonderful times we had with him."

Briggs made his Corrie debut as Mike Baldwin in 1976 and remained on the Cobbles until 2006, playing the role of an underwear factory boss.

He left the soap with his cockney character apparently suffering from a form of Alzheimer’s.

 Johnny Briggs (Mike Baldwin), Amanda Barrie (Alma Baldwin) and William Roache (Ken Barlow), 19th December 1991

The London-born actor also appeared on stage and in films, alongside the likes of Norman Wisdom, Dirk Bogarde and Tommy Steele.

Briggs was appointed an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours in December 2006.

Tributes have flooded in for the much-loved star with many of his former Coronation Street co-stars paying their respects.

The official Coronation Street Twitter account posted: "The whole Coronation Street family is deeply saddened by the death of Johnny Briggs.

"In the role of Mike Baldwin, he truly was one of the most iconic characters The Street has ever known. We wish Johnny's family all our condolences."

Helen Worth, who plays Gail Platt on the show, said: "I am very sorry to hear the sad news.

"I have many happy memories of working together with Johnny. He was one of the street's most memorable characters."

Samia Longchambon, who has played Maria Connor in the soap since 2000, posted: "#RestInPeace Johnny Briggs. Really sorry to hear the sad news.

"I have fond memories of working with Johnny, he was such a lovely man."

Antony Cotton, who plays Sean Tully, said "we all adored him".

"Johnny Briggs was a complex character, on and off screen, and we all adored him," he tweeted.

"Feel lucky that I got the chance to work with him in the factory. I am, and will always be, a Baldwin’s Casual.

"Night night Mr Baldwin, I’ve left you a bottle of Scotch in the filing cabinet…"

John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the north, paid tribute.

"The whole Coronation Street family is deeply saddened by the death of Johnny Briggs," he said in a statement.

"For years Johnny was right at the centre of the show, playing the part of Mike Baldwin and bringing to the role huge energy, dynamism, professionalism and credibility.

"When Mike Baldwin was in a scene it was very hard to look at anyone else.

"And it was that charisma which made him irresistible to the women of Coronation Street, and to viewers.

"He truly was one of the most iconic characters the Street has ever known. We wish Johnny's family all our condolences."

Former Corrie writer Phil Ford tweeted: "Very very sad to hear that actor Johnny Briggs has died.

"Knew him during my time on Corrie. Many a lunchtime chat. Lots of smiles."

Emmerdale actor John Bowe tweeted: "RIP Johnny Briggs. Never forgotten introducing you to Guacamole!"

Presenter Piers Morgan paid tribute to the Coronation Street actor on social media.

"RIP Johnny Briggs, 85," he tweeted. "Coronation Street legend who played rogueish Mike Baldwin for 30yrs. Great character on & off screen."

Another Corrie colleague, Sally Dynevor who plays Sally Webster in the long-running soap, said: "RIP Johnny Briggs. What a wonderful actor he was. Lots of happy memories."

William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, said in a statement to PA: "So sorry to hear about Johnny.

"Mike Baldwin and Ken Barlow were arch enemies for many years, but as an actor, Johnny was impeccable, always good, and I was so fortunate to have worked with him for so many years.

Johnny Briggs and William Roache, known for playing the characters Mike Baldwin and Ken Barlow in TV soap Coronation Street, at practice for Bob Hope golf tournament in September 1983

"He was a strong character who will be greatly missed.

"I send my love to Johnny on his journey and to all those who are bound to miss him, he was an iconic Coronation Street character. Love you Johnny! X"