The cast of The Royle Family have paid touching tributes to Caroline Aherne, who died today, aged 52, following a battle with cancer. Ralf Little, who played her onscreen brother Antony Royle in the popular TV series, said he was lost for words on hearing the news of her passing.

Writing on Twitter he said: "Sorry for silence - I just... don't know what to say. What a sad, sad day. We've lost another one of our best. A character. A legend. A boss. A sister, real (for me) fake. A boss. A writer. An actor. A genuis. A friend. Big, big heart. Goodbye".

Actress Sue Johnston, who played Aherne's mother Barbara in the hit TV show, added: "I am devastated at her passing and I am numb with grief."

Coronation Street actor Andrew Whyment, who also starred in The Royle Family, praised the comic talent. "So sad 2 hear the passing of Caroline Aherne it was a privilege to have worked with her on the Royle Family very talented woman indeed RIP X."

Debbie McGee was most famously the subject of one of Caroline's most memorable interviews as Mrs Merton, in which she asked pointedly: "But what first, Debbie, attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"'

McGee, who recently lost her husband magician Paul Daniels, tweeted her personal tribute writing: "Just heard the very sad news about Caroline Aherne she was wonderful especially as Mrs Merton. My interview will be a treasured memory RIP".

The team from Gogglebox, which Aherne narrated, issued a statement saying they are "devastated by the loss of Caroline Aherne, a close friend and colleague. She has been a huge part part of Gogglebox frm the beginning and her warmth, humour, and unique personality will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with her family."

Caroline's publicist Neil Reading announced her death in a statement today (2 July), saying: "Caroline Aherne has sadly passed away, after a brave battle with cancer. The BAFTA award-winning writer and comedy actor died earlier today at her home in Timperley, Greater Manchester. She was 52. The family ask for privacy at this very sad time."

Tributes have continued to pour in in for the comic actress, from the world of showbiz which is mourning the loss of yet another much-loved entertainer in 2016.