Benidorm actor Kenny Ireland dies from cancer aged 68

actor kenny ireland
Image caption Benidorm star Kenny Ireland had been written out of the show as he underwent cancer treatment

Actor Kenny Ireland - best known for his role in TV comedy Benidorm - has died, aged 68, following a battle with cancer.

The veteran Scottish actor and director had played swinger Donald Stewart in the ITV show since 2007.

He was also part of Victoria Wood's fictional rep company in the BBC series Victoria Wood As Seen On TV.

Kenny Ireland was director at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre for more than a decade until 2003.

More recently, he was director at His Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen and was a leading voice in the campaign to establish a National Theatre for Scotland.

The actor was written out of the latest series of Benidorm in June so he could concentrate on his cancer treatment.

He and co-star Janine Duvitski played a sex-mad couple who holiday at the Solano hotel in the Spanish resort every year.

'Dark days'

Mr Ireland's other TV credits include Taggart, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, the UK version of House of Cards, Drop The Dead Donkey and Heartbeat.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond led online tributes to the star.

He tweeted: "Sad to hear Kenny Ireland - a great actor & former director @lyceumtheatre - has passed away. Deepest condolences to his family and friends."

Benidorm co-star Danny Walters, who plays Tiger Dyke in the show, said: "Very sad news about Kenny Ireland (Donald Stewart). Thanks for teaching me how to play backgammon. RIP Kenny."

TV chef Rustie Lee worked alongside Kenny Ireland when she had a cameo role in Benidorm.

She said: "RIP Kenny Ireland (Donald from @BenidormTweets). My sincere condolences go out to his wife and family xx"

Former Brookside actor Louis Emerick tweeted: "Ah man! Only just heard the sad newz bout #KennyIreland(deceased). Only met him briefly last yr during my time on #Benidorm! Im a fan he a Gent!"

Graham McLaren, associate director at the National Theatre of Scotland, posted: "The man my daughter called Santa has passed away. Dark days indeed. Kenny Ireland RIP."

Image caption Kenny Ireland starring in the BBC series Victoria Wood As Seen On TV

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