EMMERDALE legend Sheila Mercier, who played Annie Sugden, has died aged 100.
The TV icon died peacefully in her sleep after a successful career on stage and on the small screen.
In a tribute posted on social media, her former Yorkshire Television co-star Frederick Pyne said: “Sad to tell all you Emmerdale fans that Sheila Mercier ( Annie Sugden ) died peacefully in her sleep and she does not want a funeral.
“She would have been 101 years old on New Years Day.
“She was a great character and lovely to work with.”
Mercier had been born in Hull, Yorkshire, in 1919 – quickly finding a passion for acting and going on to train at the Stratford-upon-Abon College of Drama.
She was then talent spotted, touring with a Shakespeare company until 1939.
During the Second World War, she joined the WAAF division of the Royal Air Force.
But once the conflict ended, she went back to theatre – receiving rave reviews for her roles in Hay Fever and The Eagle with Two Heads.
She was ultimately cast as her most well-known role – Annie Sugden in Emmerdale Farm, which later became known as Emmerdale.
The actress played the role until 1994.
She later returned to reprise her role at the age of 90 in 2009, with her character attending the funeral of her on-screen son.
Mercier’s actor husband Peter died in 1993 after 43 years of marriage.
She had a son, Nigel.