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Louise Plowright dies aged 59

The actress had been battling with pancreatic cancer

Actress Louise Plowright, whose stage credits included Mamma Mia! and Wicked, has passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 59.

Having trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Plowright found fame as hairdresser Julie Cooper in EastEnders in 1989.

Her West End theatre debut came in 1999 when she originated the role of Tanya in Mamma Mia!, she later when on to play lead role Donna for four years.

Further theatre work included roles in Bad Girls - The Musical, Follies and Oklahoma!, and Madame Morrible in Wicked.

Following her cancer diagnosis a crowdfunding campaign was launched to raise money for treatment in Seoul. An announcement claimed over £150,000 had been raised.

A statement on Facebook read:

"Dear wonderful supporters of Louise.

I am so sorry to have to let you know that an hour ago we lost Louise to that horrid disease. All of her family were with her.

The world has lost a truly special person, prodigiously talented, and a friend to all.

Can I thank all of you who joined us in this battle and who helped Louise to have hope."