Jill Gascoine has died aged 83 following a ten-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease as her family say they are ‘relieved she is not suffering anymore.’
The British actress, best known for her TV role as Detective Inspector Maggie Forbes in 1980s TV series The Gentle Touch, and spin-off C.A.T.S. Eyes and The Onedin Line, was married to fellow TV star, Alfred Molina, 66.
Her son Adam confirmed her death, writing on Facebook on Wednesday morning: ‘She suffered from Alzheimer’s for 10 years, so today was a thankful release.
Sad news: The Gentle Touch actress Jill Gascoine has died aged 83 after a 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease (pictured in 1996)
Acclaimed: Jill was perhaps best known for her role as DI Maggie Forbes in The Gentle Touch, a drama which ran on ITV from 1980-1984
‘The family is all well, and relieved that she’s not suffering any more.
‘Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will not be a memorial for Jill – who lived in a care home in Los Angeles in the later stages of her life – “for a good while”, but the family are planning services in the US and UK.’
Adam added: ‘There will not be a memorial for a good while due to the current climate. The family will reach out once details have been arranged.
‘We are relieved she is not suffering anymore’: Jill’s son Adam shared this moving post on Facebook on Wednesday as he paid tribite to his mother
Beautiful moment: In 2018, Adam shared this picture on Facebook and wrote: ‘This is from last year. She’s changed a lot since then but I got a kiss from her today, so it was a great visit’
‘We will likely hold 2 services – one in London for the UK friends and family, and one in Los Angeles for the US side.
‘She was a wonderful human and a spirit of truth and absolute, unconditional love. There was no other.
‘I am happy she’s moved on. Please raise a glass. Be kind and love deeply (sic)”‘
Her love: Jill was married to fellow actor Alfred Molina (pictured), who was 16 years her junior
Love: The couple were pictured together at the Tony Awards in New York in 2004
Her stepdaughter Rachel Molina, Alfred’s daughter from a previous relationship with ex, Sue, also paid tribute to Jill.
She wrote on Instagram: ‘We lost someone very special in our family in the early hours of this morning. My beautiful step mum Jill.
‘She passed away peacefully after living with Alzheimer’s for 10yrs. Before this she was the most wonderful actress and dancer.
‘Her death is not a surprise, and as her son Adam says it’s a thankful release from what is a brutal disease.
‘I love this photo of her with her sons Adam and Sean … She was always so beautiful inside and out, and the best step mum I could have asked for (sic)’
Beautiful words: Jill’s stepdaughter, Rachel Molina, shared this post on Wednesday – her father was Alfred, from a previous relationship
Jill and Alfred married in 1986 and he was 16 years her junior. He adopted her sons, Adam and Sean, from her first marriage to Dundee hotelier Bill Keith.
In the the 1990s, Jill and Alfred moved to Los Angeles. She recovered from a battle with kidney cancer in 1997 after it was detected in its early stages.
In 2009, she was due to join EastEnders as Glenda Mitchell – the mother of Roxy and Ronnie Mitchell – but later withdrew from the role and it was re-cast, with Glynis Barber taking on the part.
Speaking about the role, Jill previously said: ‘Having spent the last 15 years working in America … I felt on arrival I lacked the right experience to film such a big continuing drama.
Looking back: A still from spin-off show C.A.T.S. Eyes in which Jill starred alongside Leslie Ash, (left) and Tracy Louise Ward, (right) – pictured in 1986
‘I have tremendous respect for EastEnders and the cast so I don’t want to let the show or my fellow cast members down.
In the later stages of her career she became a novelist and published three books. It was widely reported that she suffered from depression for most of her life.
In 2016, husband Alfred, who played Doctor Octopus in Spiderman 2, confirmed his wife was ‘in a very advanced stage’ of Alzheimer’s disease.
RIP: Broadcaster Jeremy Vine took to Twitter soon after hearing the news to offer his condolences