Actor Clive Hornby, 63, best known for his role as Emmerdale‘s Jack Sugden, has died, prompting tributes form his co-stars.

Joining the cast of Emmerdale as farmer Jack in 1980, Clive remained with the ITV1 soap for 28 years, making him the longest-serving cast member in Emmerdale’s history.

In January, it was announced that Clive would be taking a break from the soap due to ill health.

Anita Turner, series producer, Emmerdale said: “This is a devastating loss and we are all deeply saddened. Clive will be greatly missed by everyone who has worked with him on Emmerdale during the past 28 years.

His co-star, Chris Chittell, who plays Eric Pollard, has also paid tribute to him.

“Clive meant everything to everyone… He had a wicked sense of humour which I always appreciated. He was a very private and courageous man and not only a great contributor to the show but also to all our lives.”

Born and raised in Liverpool, Clive worked as an accounts clerk before enjoying success as a drummer with pop group The Dennisons, performing at Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club throughout the 1960s.

When the group split, Clive turned his attentions to acting and learned his craft at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art before going into repertory theatre.

Clive went on to appear in various TV productions including army sitcom Get Some In and Gerry Anderson’s Space 1999, before landing the role as Jack Sugden in Emmerdale.