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10 May 2018, 09:45 | Updated: 10 May 2018, 10:30
Barbara Windsor has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, her husband has confirmed.
The 80-year-old EastEnders and Carry On star was first told about it four years ago, but decided to keep it quiet until now, as her symptoms had grown worse in recent weeks.
Speaking to The Sun, Scott Mitchell said he wanted to speak out due to rumours about his wife's deteriorating health.
“Since her 80th birthday last August, a definite continual confusion has set in, so it’s becoming a lot more difficult for us to hide,” he said. “I’m doing this because I want us to be able to go out and, if something isn’t quite right, it will be OK because people will now know that she has Alzheimer’s and will accept it for what it is.”
Windsor is best known for her roles in nine Carry On films and as pub landlord Peggy Mitchell in TV soap EastEnders.
Her first words after hearing of the diagnosis were “I’m so sorry”, Mitchell said.
Mitchell said he had first noticed Barbara's symptoms in 2009, just before Windsor left EastEnders, when she began to struggle with learning her lines.
He added that she has now retired from charity work, as well as acting.