Actress Ruth Madoc has died aged 79, her agent has confirmed.

Her death comes following a fall which led her to withdraw from performing in the pantomime Aladdin at the Princess Theatre in Torquay.

Posting a statement on Twitter, the theatre company said on Thursday: “Following an accident earlier this week, after medical assessment, regretfully Ruth Madoc is no longer able to appear in this year’s pantomime of Aladdin at the Princess Theatre in Torquay.”

Madoc played Gladys Pugh in the BBC sitcom between 1980 and 1988 and has since appeared in Little Britain and Benidorm.

Ruth Madoc dies aged 79, her agent confirms

In a statement given to the PA News Agency, Phil Belfield of talent agency Belfield & Ward Ltd, described Ruth Madoc as “one of a kind and a unique talent loved by many”.

He said: “It is with much sadness that we have to announce the death of our dear and much loved client Ruth Madoc.

“Ruth passed away on the afternoon of Friday 9th December while in hospital following surgery for a fall she had earlier in the week, which had led her to have to withdraw from panto in Torquay.

“From film work such as Fiddler On The Roof and Under Milk Wood with Richard Burton and her iconic TV performance as Gladys Pugh in Hi De Hi! and more recently in Little Britain and on stage with Calendar Girls (the play and the musical), plus recent acclaim in short films Skinny Fat and Cardiff, she was truly a national treasure and was looking forward to getting back on the road in 2023 with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

“A real legend of the British entertainment scene, she was one of a kind and a unique talent loved by many. She is gone far too soon. Our hearts are broken!

“Thoughts are with her daughter Lowri, her son Rhys and all of her family.”

Born in April 1943 and brought up in Llansamlet near Swansea, Madoc trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) before her break-out role playing Fruma Sarah in the film version of the musical Fiddler On The Roof in 1971.

A decade later she appeared in sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, having had other roles including Mrs Dai Bread Two in 1972 comedy film Under Milk Wood.

She is survived by her two children.

Tributes flooded in for the actress via social media.

One Twitter user wrote: “Ruth Madoc. That’s a shame. #RIP”

Another said: “Sad news that Ruth Madoc has died. I remember seeing her in #Salisbury and she was so kind to my mum. It was a meeting my mother never forgot and cherished.”

Alongside a sad face emoji, another tweeted: “RIP Ruth Madoc anther piece of my childhood gone”