Emmerdale star Meg Johnson dies aged 86
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Emmerdale star Meg Johnson has passed away, aged 83.
The soap star has played Pearl Ladderbanks in the ITV show since 2003.
In a statement with her family, ITV and her agent described the star as a 'kind and wonderful lady'.
In a joint statement from her family, the talent agency Jorg Betts Associates and ITV Emmerdale, announced the sad news.
It read: “Meg was a kind and wonderful lady, full of warmth and always with a twinkle in her eye."
Continuing, they spoke about Johnson's career saying: “Meg had an outstanding career that ended with her playing Pearl Ladderbanks in Emmerdale from 2003.
“Meg had dementia for the last few years, but battled on personally and professionally regardless.
“She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her.”
Prior to her death, Johnson had become a mainstay of the ITV soaps.
Surprisingly, her first appearance was in Coronation Street back in 1976 - where she guest-starred as Brenda Holden.
It wouldn't be the last time she'd appear on the iconic cobbles though, eventually being cast as Eunice Gee in 1981 and appearing until 1999.
The 86-year-old was later cast in Channel 4's Brookside as Brigid McKenna before returning to ITV.
This time, Johnson would be cast as Pearl Ladderbanks, aka Emmerdale Veterinary Surgery's receptionist.
Known for her flamboyant personality, the character first arrived in the fictional village back in 2003.
However, it wasn't plain sailing for the fictional pensioner who called off an engagement, became a key witness in a murder trial and frequently changed jobs.
Despite being a fan favourite, Johnson would eventually leave the role in 2020, after 1065 appearances in the soap, and retire from acting.
Her co-stars have also paid tribute to the late soap star, sharing their condolences on social media.
Gemma Oaten, who starred alongside Johnson in Emmerdale, wrote on Twitter: "Sending so much love to the @emmerdale
family and family of the late and great Meg Johnson."
She continued: "A beautiful woman inside and out, who was always so kind to me during my #Emmerdale days. I'm sure Shirley, Freddie, Richard and Co will take good care of her up there...RIP lovely Meg x."
Commenting on ITV's statement, she added: "Such a sad loss, but what a life and what a treasure she was. Sending love to you all she was always so kind (and wickedly funny!)"
"Love to her beloved family and friends too. RIP"