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Former EastEnders and Fawlty Towers actor Nicky Henson dies aged 74

He passed away after an 19-year battle with cancer

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Former EastEnders actor Nicky Henson has died aged 74, it has been announced today.

Nicky long-time friend, Ian Oglivy, confirmed the news with a Facebook post.

He wrote: “After an illness which started twenty years ago, and which was born with great fortitude and good humour, my oldest and dearest friend, my mate Nicky Henson, has gone.”

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The actor – who played Jack Edwards, the father of Honey Mitchell in EastEnders – also enjoyed a stage career and joined the Royal Shakespeare company in 1977.

He also appeared in an episode of Fawlty Towers and in Downton Abbey as Charles Grigg, an entertainer who Mr Carson performed with in the 1880s.

Nicky opened up about his cancer battle last year, and revealed he saw the last 18 years as “extra time” following his diagnosis.

Nicky played Honey’s dad, Jack, in EastEnders (Credit: BBC)

He told The Mirror last year: “I got my first cancer on Christmas Day 18 years ago and didn’t think I was going to survive, after I was told I had a large tumour and would have to be operated on.

“To get rid of the first tumour, I had to have half my colon and a third of my stomach removed.

“I was fine, but a routine scan a few years later revealed I had another tumour. I was prescribed a drug, Gleevac, for six months, to reduce it to an operable size.

“During that time, I got my dream part as Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night at the RSC, but the physical strain of the part and the side effects of the drug meant I had to give it up. I knew then I’d never act on stage again, which broke my heart.”

Just over a decade ago, Henson was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and faced “around 21 medical procedures over 12 months”.

Nicky battled three cancers in his life (Credit: SplashNews.com)

But he added: “It’s incredible what treatment they can offer now. For my generation the ‘c’ word used to mean that was the end.

“But my three sons looked it up on the internet and told me, ‘Listen dad, it’s not like the old days, you’ll be OK.’ ”

He was married to his wife Marguerite for 32 years and they had one son, Keaton.

He also had two children, Christian and Joe, with first wife, actress Una Stubbs.

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