Coronation Street legend Julie Goodyear has had a "heart-breaking diagnosis" of dementia, her husband has announced.
The 81-year-old actress is best known for her long-running role in Weatherfield as Rovers Return barmaid Bet Lynch.
In a statement released on Wednesday, her husband Scott Brand said: "My darling wife and I have had to come to terms with this heart-breaking diagnosis.
"Unfortunately, Julie has been suffering forgetfulness for some time and we have been seeking medical advice and assistance, but we now know that there is no hope of a reversal in the situation – and that her condition will get progressively, and perhaps speedily, worse.
"We have taken the decision to publicly announce the diagnosis as Julie still loves visiting friends and eating out.
"Inevitably she is recognised, and fans love to meet her – and she them – but she can get confused particularly if she is tired. I hope people will understand."
The former Celebrity Big Brother housemate remains a patron of Willow Wood Hospice in Greater Manchester.
Goodyear, who was a staple on Coronation Street for more than 20 years, left Weatherfield in 1995 and subsequently made brief appearances on the soap.
She has also been a feature of reality TV with appearances on Celebrity Fit Club, Come Dine With Me and a celebrity special of Stars In Their Eyes.
Source: Press Association