Dame Barbara Windsor was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014 and has been battling with the disease until late Thursday (10th Dec) evening when she passed aged 83.
Her husband Mr. Mitchell said she died peacefully at a London care home where she was moved to for better care earlier this year following her diagnosis.
Mr. Mitchell wishes Barbara to be remembered for the “love, fun, friendship and brightness she brought to all our lives”.
He went on to say: “It was not the ending that Barbara or anyone else living with this very cruel disease deserves.
“I will always be immensely proud of Barbara’s courage, dignity, and generosity dealing with her own illness and still trying to help others by raising awareness for as long as she could.”
Dame Barbara after being diagnosed became an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society where she met Prime Minister Boris Johnson to help raise awareness about the disease.
The EastEnders star delivered a letter signed by 100,000 people pleading for better care for people affected by the disease and went on to say the system was “completely inadequate, unfair, unsustainable and in dire need of more money”.
The couple acknowledged it was rather nerve-racking to go public with Barbara’s diagnosis in 2018 and in a statement Mr. Mitchell thanked the family and friends for support which he said “Barbara deeply appreciated”.
He added: “I’ve lost my wife, my best friend and soul mate and my heart or life will never feel the same without you.”
Being a British icon and touching so many hearts in the entertainment industry, tributes poured in after her passing.
Danniella Westbrook, who played her on-screen daughter Sam Mitchell in EastEnders, tweeted: “My heart is broken. Bar, you will always [be] in my heart forever.”
EastEnders Patsy Palmer, who played Bianca Jackson in the BBC TV soap, also said: “I’m extremely sad to hear that my friend ‘Dame’ Barbara Windsor has passed away. I’m sitting here thinking of the 100s of memories we shared.
“Too many to comprehend. We were like family for a long time, ups, downs, ins, and outs but you will never meet a more professional actress than Babs.”
Little Britain star Matt Lucas said “it’s not an overstatement to say I think the whole country is in mourning today” and then praised the actress for working “tirelessly” for charity “even when her own health was failing her”.
The Alzheimer’s Society said they were “incredibly grateful” to Dame Barbara and Mr. Mitchell for their work bringing awareness to the disease.
Then added in a statement: “Dame Barbara Windsor was an amazingly true, much-loved national treasure, and in speaking out about her experiences shone like a beacon for others affected by dementia.”
We Lost A Treasure Indeed! Rest In Peace Dame Windsor.