Irish actor Pat Laffan – best known for playing milkman Pat Mustard in Father Ted – has died at the age of 79.
Announcing the news, his agents described him as “one of the leading stage actors of his generation”.
Father Ted creator Graham Linehan tweeted: “Rest in peace, Pat, a pleasure to work with you.”
Throughout his career, Laffan appeared in almost 40 films and made 30 TV appearances, including in BBC’s EastEnders and in RTE’s The Clinic.
He was also known to Irish audiences for his portrayal of Mr Burgess in Roddy Doyle’s 1993 film The Snapper.
In a statement on social media, the Lisa Richards Agency, which represented Laffan for almost 30 years, said it was with “tremendous sadness” that it announced his death.
“All here will remember him first and foremost as our friend and mentor and we will miss him terribly,” the agency added.
“We send our heartfelt condolences to his friends and family.”
Pauline McLynn, who played Mrs Doyle, the housekeeper of Craggy Island Parochial House in Father Ted, posted a short tribute to Laffan on Twitter saying: “RIP the wonderful Pat Laffan”.
Laffan’s character of a sleazy milkman was positioned as Mrs Doyle’s love interest, with the show’s writers suggesting he had relationships with all the women he delivered milk to each morning.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Laffan was a member of the Abbey Theatre Company.
The company’s Twitter account posted a tribute, saying the late actor would be “sorely missed”.
It read: “Very sad to hear that Pat Laffan has passed away. His career at the Abbey started in 1961 and spanned five decades.”
The Abbey shared a picture of him in what they said was one of his earliest appearances in The Enemy Within in 1962.
Laffan also had the role of director at the Peacock Theatre, and directed at the Gate Theatre between 1979 and 1982.
The Gate also tweeted a tribute, describing Laffan as “an incredible force in the Irish theatre community”.