The heartbroken widow of Bill Star George Rossi has revealed that he died surrounded by his loving family after losing a battle with pancreatic cancer.
George – who played DC Duncan Lennox for 20 years in the ITV drama – died at his North London home on Wednesday at the age of 60, with his wife, Catrin, 56 and their two children, Santino, 24 and Matilda, 26 at his bedside.
Catrin told MailOnline: ‘George was a wonderful person. He died peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family after losing his battle against pancreatic cancer.
‘He died at home which is what he wanted. We will miss him terribly and we are all really grieving at the moment and trying to come to terms with this huge loss. The children are devastated as am I.’
Sad news: The Bill star George Rossi has died at the age of 60. The actor played DC Duncan Lennox for 20 years in the ITV drama (pictured in 2006)
She sobbed: ‘It was expected but this has hit us hard and we really don’t know what more to say.’
George and Catrin married in 1988 and she was being comforted by their two children, other relatives and friends at the family home.
His death was announced on social media with his niece Louisa writing that he had still been acting ‘up until recently.’
‘Unfortunately, George Rossi who played DC Duncan Lennox passed away the morning of Wednesday 5th January 2022,’ Louise wrote on Twitter.
‘This is my uncle,’ she added. ‘He was acting still up until recently. Unfortunately, he passed away yesterday morning.’
Still working: Rossi is pictured in a Facebook photo taken in September, 2020. His niece confirmed he was working ‘up until recently’. His final project was film Le Cineaste – A Director’s Journey, which he filmed in 2020
Glasgow-born George made his debut in The Bill in 1993, and would go on to appear in almost 200 episodes over the next 20 years.
His character first appeared in a 1993 episode before returning as a series regular in 1998. He left the drama in 2003.
He also appeared in a string of other well-known TV programmes including Taggart, and the first two series’ of Whitechapel between 2009 and 2010, portraying another detective, DC McCormack.
Reaching out: Rossi died on Wednesday January 5, with his niece Louisa writing that he had been ‘added to the list’ who had died that morning
Open: Louisa revealed to heartbroken fans that he was working ‘up until recently’
Born in Govan, Glasgow, George was of Italian descent and worked alongside his family in their ice-cream van. He trained at East 15 Acting School in Debden, Essex.
George also starred in the 1984 movie Comfort and Joy alongside his brother Peter, and appeared as Kevin in Roughnecks.
The actor appeared in medical dramas Holby City and Casualty, as well as TV series The Singing Detective, and he starred opposite Peter Riegert, Denis Lawson, and Fulton Mackay in 1983 comedy-drama film Local Hero.
In 2013, George appeared as Gianpaolo Albertini in BBC soap Doctors, and in 2011 he starred as Marco in Hustle.
‘Warm colleague’: Rossi spent 20 years playing Lennox, before leaving the ITV serial drama in 2003 (pictured far right with The Bill co-stars including friend Billy Murray second left)
Fan favourite: His character first appeared in a 1993 episode before returning as a series regular in 1998 (pictured as Lennox)
During his career he featured alongside major names like Jean Reno, Chris O’Donnell and Sandra Bullock.
His final project was as David in the film Le Cineaste – A Director’s Journey, which he filmed in 2020.
Billy Murray, who played Don Beech in The Bill from 1995 to 2004, tweeted a tribute on Friday, writing: ‘Devastated to hear #GeorgeRossi has died. A funny, warm colleague at The Bill and a fine actor. 60 no age. RIP my friend.’
Tributes: Billy Murray, who played Don Beech in The Bill from 1995 to 2004, tweeted that Rossi was ‘a funny, warm colleague at The Bill and a fine actor’
ITV star: Pictured with Chris Ellison as DCI Frank Burnside and Lorraine Chase as Betty on The Bill
Memories: Actor Ben Peyton recalled sharing scenes with the popular actor in his first days of playing Ben Hayward on The Bill
Actor Ben Peyton, who played Ben Hayward on The Bill from 2000-2003 recalled how Rossi was ‘a gent’ on set, tweeting: ‘I remember when I’d just started and we had to talk together in the background of a scene before I walked out of shot and he carried the scene on.’
‘I’d always say ‘Cheers, Sir,’ as I left even though we were the same rank (PC & DC). I had no idea and assumed he was my superior. I must’ve said it about five or six times before someone pointed it out. ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ I said. ‘Because it was funny,’ he chuckled.’
Actress Tracie Bennett, who appeared alongside Rossi in The Bill and various other TV dramas, tweeted her condolences, writing: ‘R.I.P. George Rossi. Can’t believe it. We used to laugh til we cried. Also a very gentle and a wonderful man. Gone too young. Condolences to family. Go well my lovely.’
Colleague: Actress Tracie Bennett, who appeared alongside Rossi in The Bill and various other TV dramas, tweeted her condolences, writing: ‘R.I.P. George Rossi. Can’t believe it’
Sad loss: Director and producer Erron Gordon tweeted: ‘Shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of George Rossi who played DC Duncan Lennox in The Bill. Condolences to his family’
Casting director Claire Toeman added: ‘Rest in peace George Rossi you were the dearest of friends you will be sorely missed.’
Director and producer Erron Gordon tweeted: ‘Shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of George Rossi who played DC Duncan Lennox in The Bill. Condolences to his family and friends. RIP.’
Last year, former The Bill star Ben Roberts – who portrayed Chief Inspector Derek Conway in the ITV drama from 1987 to 2002 – died aged 70.
His agents LCM Limited wrote on Twitter at the time: ‘Remembering the wonderful Ben Roberts who sadly passed away on Monday. Best known as Chief Inspector Derek Conway in The Bill & he had an extensive career in theatre, TV & film. Our thoughts are with his wife Helen & family at this time. (sic)’
TV star: He also appeared in a string of other well-known TV programmes including Taggart, and the first two series’ of Whitechapel between 2009 and 2010 (pictured in 1994)