Actor Dean Sullivan, who was best known for playing Jimmy Corkhill in Brookside, has died at the of 68, his family have confirmed.

Sullivan, who starred in the Channel 4 soap between 1986 - 2003, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018.

In a statement, Sullivan's family said they were announcing with "deep sadness" that the actor "passed away peacefully following a short illness".

"Dean is best remembered as the longest-serving cast member of Channel 4's groundbreaking Brookside playing the role of Jimmy Corkhill, making Dean a British soap icon.

"To millions he was and very much still is remembered as 'Jimmy', to family and friends he was 'Dino'."

It continued: "Dean's family wants to thank Arrowe Park Hospital for their unwavering and consistent support."

"We ask that you respect their privacy in their time of grief."

Sullivan joined Channel 4 programme Brookside in 1986 and soon became a series regular due to the popularity of his character.

Brookside, the brainchild of Grange Hill creator Phil Redmond, launched in November 1982, with its houses situated in a real cul-de-sac – part of a housing estate in West Derby, Liverpool.

Dean Sullivan as Jimmy Corkhill on the set of Brookside in 1988

The show launched the careers of dozens of high-profile actors, including Amanda Burton, Claire Sweeney and Anna Friel.

The last episode was filmed in September 2003 and aired in November the same year – and it was Jimmy Corkhill’s face that last filled the screen.

Sullivan said at the time: "I will miss it but I won’t miss my life being completely controlled by my answer machine. It’s rather like being released from prison.

"Last week I started growing my sideburns and I’ve never been able to do that before."

Sullivan was a two-time British Soap Awards winner and had roles in other TV dramas, including BBC’s Doctors and ITV’s The Royal.