Elisabeth Sladen has died. She was 63.
She was best known for playing "Sarah Jane Smith" on Doctor Who, and on various Who spinoffs. Arguably the most enduringly popular companion, she starred alongside the Third and Fourth doctors, staying on the cast for an uncommonly long four years. She also had her own failed spinoff in the early 80s,, and a prominent role in "The Five Doctors" 20th anniversary special, and a very successful spinoff over the last four years.
Since the show came back from the grave seven years ago, she has been featured on it four times, all under the 10th doctor, and had her own spinoff, "The Sarah Jane Adventures," which just finished its fourth season, and which featured an appearance by the eleventh doctor.
Originally a dancer, and then a stage manager, she started picking up minor parts in television in the late 1960s/early 70s. She married Brian Miller in 1968, and they were reputed to be one of the rare acting couples that were quite happy together their whole lives. They had one child, Sadie, who's also in the acting profession.
She died of cancer. Our prayers go out for her soul and her family.