The 86-year-old Coronation Street was left devastated by his co-star’s death.

Coronation Street star William Roache has spoken of his heartache at the death of his on-screen wife Anne Kirkbride and revealed he visited her as she lay dying in hospital.

William plays Ken Barlow in the soap while Anne played his wife, Deidre, until her death in 2015 following a battle with cancer.

The pair’s on-off relationship in Coronation Street lasted more than three decades and more people watched their 1981 wedding than Charles and Diana’s two days later.

Bill Roache
Coronation Street actor Bill Roache has opened up on his heartache following the death of his on-screen wife, Anne Kirkbride (PA)

In his book Life And Soul, serialised in The Daily Mirror, 86-year-old William opened up on the death of Anne and revealed his final words to her.

He said: “I had been at her bedside that night, Monday, January 19, 2015, along with others close to her. When I’d arrived at the hospital, I’d been told, ‘She’s lost a lot of weight. Be prepared’.

“Annie was frail, but she looked so beautiful – the weight loss had revealed her exquisite bone structure. All I could see was her beauty.

“She was unconscious, sedated with morphine, but she had a glow that seemed to come from within. I held her hand. I felt a tremor and hoped that was a sign she knew I was with her. I thanked her for everything. ‘Goodbye, Annie’, I said. ‘You know you’re going to a beautiful place’.”

Life And Soul will be released on June 19.