CORONATION Street have killed off Norris Cole after Malcolm Hebden quit the soap in January.
Norris appeared in more than 1,600 episodes from 1994 and became a firm fan favourite, known for his acerbic wit and put downs.
The Sun revealed how Malcolm, 81, was leaving the ITV soap in January following a near fatal heart attack in 2017.
In the soap his character left the Kabin for Stillwaters retirement home in June 2019.
His funeral was filmed this week, with characters including Ken Barlow, played by Bill Roache, Gail Patt, Helen Worth, and his on-screen ex-wife Mary Taylor, actress Patti Clare, in attendance.
A soap insider said: “When Malcolm left the soap he made it clear he would not be returning and bosses took the decision to write him out.
“Norris was a huge character for Coronation Street and his funeral will be filled with fun and laughter as well as tears.
“Make no doubt about it, this will be a celebration of all of the best moments Norris had on the cobbles.
“But given his influence and how much he was loved, it is going to be an emotional watch.”
In January Malcolm told The Sun how he’d taken the tough decision to step away from the Cobbles.
Following his health scare in 2017 Norris made the odd cameo before retiring.
He told The Sun: “I absolutely adored playing Norris and I was pleased to be able to return briefly after my operation.
“It took a great deal of courage to make the decision to retire.
“But I had come to realise that although the mind was willing the body was not so much.”
At the time Corrie boss Ian MacLeod said: “Norris became an all-time great character, whose lemon-lipped barbs will be remembered forever.
“But, in his brilliant double acts with Emily, Rita and more recently Mary, Malcolm has left us with countless fantastic memories.”
A spokeswoman for ITV told The Sun: “We do not comment on storyline speculation.”
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