Blackpool-raised actor John Inman passed away in the early hours of today, aged 71.

The actor, best known for his role as the gloriously camp Mr. Humphries from 1970s sitcom Are You Being Served?, died at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London.

Inman, who was born in Preston but raised and educated in Blackpool, was both an accomplished actor and lovable pantomime dame.

His first role came at the age of 13 in a play called Freda , which was shown at Blackpool's South Pier in 1948.

For the next 30 years, Inman took the stage at various venues throughout Blackpool and played a variety of characters.

However, he got his big break when he landed the part of Mr. Humphries, working alongside Wendy Richards and Molly Sugden.

Are You Being Served? was a huge success and Inman gained worldwide recognition for his contribution, starring in both Australian and American versions of the hit show.

Inman died at approximately 4am, after battling with the liver disease Hepatitis A for some time.

His long term partner of 33 years, Ron Lynch, with whom he entered a civil partnership in December 2005, is said to be devastated.