Hello Dolly's Carol Channing dies aged 97

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image captionCarol Channing at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards in 2015

Broadway star Carol Channing has died at the age of 97 of natural causes.

The actress and singer was best known for starring in the musicals Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Hello, Dolly!

Channing also had significant Hollywood success, earning a supporting actress Golden Globe for the 1967 film Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Her publicist said it was with "extreme heartache" that he announced "the passing of an original industry pioneer, legend and icon".

"I admired her before I met her, and have loved her since the day she stepped. or fell rather, into my life," B. Harlan Boll added.

"It is so very hard to see the final curtain lower on a woman who has been a daily part of my life for more than a third of it."

Many fans and fellow stars have paid tribute to the Broadway star on Twitter, including Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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image captionChanning and husband-manager Charles Lowe, pictured in 1956, were married for 43 years until his death in 1999

"Goodbye, Carol," Miranda wrote alongside the lyrics to Before the Parade Passes By, a song from Hello, Dolly!

Three-time Tony award winning actress Bernadette Peters, who portrayed Channing's famous role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in the US tour of the musical last year, said that the stage veteran "was show business and love personified".

Actor George Takei, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, called Channing one of Broadway's "greatest lights".

"She rejoins the heavens as a new diamond in the night sky, and as she famously sang, they are a girl's best friend".

"Goodbye and farewell, forever our Dolly" he added.

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image captionThe Hamilton and Mary Poppins Returns star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, led the tributes on social media

The daughter of newspaper editor George Channing and his wife Adelaide, Channing was born in January 1921 and grew up in Seattle, Washington.

She dropped out of Bennington University after a year and moved to New York, making her on-stage debut in Never Take No for an Answer in 1941.

Channing got her big break playing Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on stage in 1949, as her performance of the song Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend became extremely well known.

This performance in particular made Channing famous in theatre world, leading to castings in Wonderful Town and The Vamp.

She went on to receive a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for her role in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Channing received a lifetime achievement award at the Tony's in 1995 after a Broadway career of over 40 years.

She famously wore a red AIDS ribbon and matching lipstick, as a tribute to the LGBT community, of whom she was a huge advocate.

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