Kay Mellor, who wrote hit TV series including Fat Friends, The Syndicate, Girlfriends and Band Of Gold, has died aged 71.
A spokesperson for her TV production company, Rollem Productions, confirmed the sad news.
A statement said: “It is with profound sadness that we announce the untimely and sudden passing of our beloved friend, mentor and colleague Kay Mellor on Sunday 15th May 2022.
“We have lost a phenomenal talent and a true luminary. We ask that you please respect the privacy of the family and friends at this time.”
Kay is survived by her husband Anthony, who she was married to for more than 50 years.
The couple have two children, actress Gaynor Faye and TV producer Yvonne Francas.
Kay’s TV career began in the 1980s when she wrote for Coronation Street and Brookside.
She won a BAFTA in 1997 for her children’s drama, Children’s Ward, and also created the ITV soap, Families, which aired in the 1990s.
Kay is best known for the highly acclaimed ITV drama, Fat Friends, which starred her daughter Gaynor, James Corden, Ruth Jones and Alison Steadman.
She was awarded an OBE in 2010 from Prince Charles.
Tributes have flooded in since the sad news was announced.
Fat Friends star Lisa Riley tweeted: “Dearest Kay, rest in peace. What a massive shock to hear this news, you have been taken far far far to young.
“You were the best boss to work for, you embraced all that is good about our industry, believing in talent.”
I’m A Celebrity’s Danny Miller said: “Devastated to hear of the passing of Dear Kay Mellor. An incredible talent in the TV world and someone who always had a warming smile on offer with open arms.
“Sending all of my love to Gaynor and the rest of the beautiful family during this difficult time.”
Kym Marsh echoed: “I am so so sad to hear of the passing of Kay Mellor. I had the pleasure of working with Kay briefly last year and it was an absolute honour.