Lynda Bellingham
Lynda Bellingham died in her husband Michael's arms. Getty

Much-loved British actress and TV presenter Lynda Bellingham passed away in her husband Michael's arms on Sunday [19 October]. She was 66.

Bellingham, who was best-known for starring in the Oxo adverts of the 1980s and 1990s and as a panellist on Loose Women, was battling colon cancer after being diagnosed with the disease last July.

She took the decision in August to stop her chemotherapy to limit her family's suffering after the cancer had spread to her liver and kidneys but she had hoped to enjoy one last Christmas.

A statement by her agent Sue Latimer, dated 20 October, read: "Lynda died peacefully in her husband's arms yesterday at a London hospital.

"Her family would like to thank the nurses and staff for their tremendous care and support.

"Actor, writer and presenter - to the end Lynda was a consummate professional."

Her death comes just days just days after she made an emotional return to Loose Women for one final appearance and told a fellow presenter: "Please don't cry... it will be fine."

Celebrities and the public alike have taken to Twitter to express their shock at the tragic news.

Bellingham was born in Montreal, Canada, on May 31 1948 but was brought up in Aston Abbotts, Buckinghamshire.

She attended Aylesbury High School and trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

She made her TV debut as a nurse on 1970s ITV soap, General Hospital, and also starred in a range of films including the Sweeney! and Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers.

Other prominent parts included starring roles in drama All Creatures Great and Small and 1990s show Faith In The Future with actor Simon Pegg.

Recently her husband Michael Pattemore, who married Bellingham in 2008, told Yours magazine: "Unfortunately it doesn't matter how positive I am on this one, the Good Lord is going to take her. End of.

"It's scary and it's going to create the biggest hole in my life."

Bellingham is survived by her husband, sons Michael and Robbie, and stepson, Bradley.