River City actor Andy Gray has died at the age of 61.
Tributes were paid to the actor who played Pete Galloway in the soap from 2016-18.
In the spotlight for more than 40 years, the Perth-born actor was well known for his role as Chancer in the 1980s comedy City Lights.
Gayle Telfer Stevens, who played Caitlin McLean in River City – married on-screen to Andy’s character – said: “Andy was, and will remain, a national treasure.
“Not only was he an exceptional actor and entertainer who brought so much joy to so many people, he was an extraordinary man.
— BBC Scotland Comms (@BBCScotComms) January 18, 2021
“When you were in his presence you could feel it was of greatness. The most beautiful man.
“One of the finest our country has ever had the pleasure to experience and we were so lucky to have had the time we did with you. Andy, you will be achingly missed. Your laugh will echo in Scotland’s heart and you will never be forgotten. Love you forever.”
Steve Carson, director of BBC Scotland, said: “We are deeply saddened by the news that one of Scotland’s much-loved comedy actors and close friend to many at BBC Scotland, Andy Gray, has passed away.
“Among many roles for the BBC he will always be lovingly remembered as audience favourites, the iconic Chancer in City Lights and the silver-tongued entertainer Pete Galloway in River City.
“On screen and in person he could always make you laugh and was one of the kindest people to have around on any production. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
Martin McCardie, executive producer for River City, said: “Everyone at River City, all cast and crew are devastated to hear the extremely sad news that Andy Gray passed away this morning.
“When Andy joined River City in 2016 he had an extremely successful stage, TV and film career behind him, but the character of Pete Galloway turned out to be one of the most popular characters ever to pass through Shieldinch.
Farewell to Scottish panto legend ANDY GRAY, who has died, aged 61. https://t.co/tAG65LNlmf
— Mark Shenton 💙 (@ShentonStage) January 18, 2021
“His infectious enthusiasm for his work had an influence on all those who worked with him, he became a mainstay of the production, his trials and tribulations with the love of his life Caitlin McLean became some of the best material ever to be broadcast by the show.
“Andy took ill in 2018 and he had to leave the show and he had a difficult time. His ongoing recovery was borne with humour and gratitude for what he had, he had unfinished business on River City and we were looking forward to welcoming him back to film with us before the end of the current series.
So sad to hear this. Andy was a legend of the Scottish acting community, from City Lights, to panto, River City and so much more besides. He was also a funny and really lovely guy. He will be sorely missed by many. My condolences are with his family and friends. https://t.co/98u7aBxzr3
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 18, 2021
“His loss will be felt throughout our production and he will never be forgotten by all who knew him, but that is nothing compared to the loss that his family and partner are feeling now. All our thoughts and sympathies are with them.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “So sad to hear this. Andy was a legend of the Scottish acting community, from City Lights, to panto, River City and so much more besides.
“He was also a funny and really lovely guy. He will be sorely missed by many. My condolences are with his family and friends.”