Christine Cavanaugh, the original voice of Babe the pig and Chuckie in Rugrats, has died aged 51.

Her sister, Deionn Masock, confirmed on Wednesday (31 December) the acclaimed voice actress had died in her home in Utah on 22 December.

Masock said the cause of death was not known.

Cavanaugh voiced numerous children's characters in the 1990s including the title roles in Babe and Dexter in Dexter's Laboratory as well as parts in Recess, Aladdin, Sonic The Hedgehog, The Critic, The Powerpuff Girls and The Wild Thornberrys.

She also appeared in television shows ER and Everybody Loves Raymond, and the Tom Cruise film Jerry Maguire. She began her career with small parts on TV shows including Cheers before landing her first big role in 1991 as Gosalyn Mallard on Darkwing Duck.

"She was able to do incredible and amazing things with her voice and bring lots of smiles and many laughs to many people," her family said.

Announcing in the death in the Los Angeles Times, they wrote: "Her imagination, humour and intelligence were evident to anyone who had the pleasure of meeting her.

"Many know of her from the roles she played, but in each role there was a part of her showing through that the ones who truly knew her could see."

The same year she was cast as the cowardly Chuckie Finster in Rugrats - a role she would perform for a decade.

In 1995, she gave her voice to the title character in the hit movie Babe, based on Dick King-Smith's 1983 novel The Sheep-Pig, about a talking pig who wants to be a sheepdog.

She retired from voice acting in 2001 and moved back to her native Utah to be closer to her family.