Denise Welch has announced the death of her father Vin, saying "I can't function I'm so grief stricken".
The actor and Loose Women star, 63, had shared regular updates on her dad's health and hospital stay over recent months, but told the sad news on Wednesday that he had passed away the night before.
Posting a photo on Instagram of her hand holding her beloved dad's, she wrote: "The words I’ve dreaded saying all of my life.
"Last night at 11pm, we lost our dad, the life force that was Vin Welch.
"After making a miraculous recovery recently from major surgeries, pneumonia plus his existing pulmonary fibrosis was more than even he could take.
"He left us surrounded by his family who could not have loved anyone more.
"I can’t quite function as I’m so grief stricken, but I know he meant so much to so many people, even those who’d never met him.
"I’ve never seen anyone fight to stay longer at a party than dad and last night was no different. He loved life and lived it to the full like no other."
She also thanked the nurses at Durham University Hospital who had cared for him in his final days, before signing off: "Love you dad. Heartbroken."
Welch had spoken many times on Loose Women about her heartache over hospital visitor restrictions during the pandemic.
He had previously appeared on the ITV chat show alongside her, and Wednesday's episode opened with her co-stars offering their condolences.
Commenting on her Instagram post, Ruth Langsford wrote: "So, so sorry Denise….he was a one off and there’s going to be one hell of a party in heaven. I know your heart is breaking but grief is the price we pay for love. You will carry him with you always. RIP Vin."
Judi Love added: "Denise I am heartbroken for you, this pain is difficult. Your father was a fine example of life and light.
"We all know how much you loved each other and saw how hard you cared for your dad especially over this last year. His light will shine on through you xxx"
Coronation Street's Sally Dynevor wrote: "Den, what an incredible man he was. Such a beautiful soul. He will be forever in our hearts. Love you xxxx."
Other friends offering their sympathies included Lizzie Cundy, Chelsee Healey, Dame Kelly Holmes, Suranne Jones and Baga Chipz.
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