Beloved British TV Star Anna Karen Dies in London House Fire at Age 85: 'An Absolute Treasure'

The actress' agent Shane Collins told BBC News that his client "was a great actress, a great comedian and a great soul"

anna karen
Photo: TV Times via Getty Images

British actress Anna Karen has died following a house fire at her London home. She was 85.

The London Fire Brigade confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that a woman had died in a house fire that broke out around 10:30 p.m. local time on Windsor Road in Ilford.

It took less than an hour for the Brigade to get the fire under control, per the Brigade. The victim, later identified as Karen, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Karen's agent Shane Collins told BBC News that his client "was a great actress, a great comedian and a great soul."

PEOPLE has reached out to Collins for comment.

anna karen

Born in Durban, South Africa, Karen was best known for various roles from Aunt Sal on EastEnders, which ran through 2017, to Olive in the 1970s sitcom On the Buses, where she became a household name, and in the revived British sitcom The Rag Trade. She also appeared in two films from the Carry On franchise in 1969 and 1970.

Many of Karen's friends paid tribute to the late actress on social media after learning of her death. Singer Cheryl Baker praised her friend as "an absolute treasure, both on and off the screen."

"I have just heard the awful news that my fabulous mate, #AnnaKaren has died in a house fire. What an horrific way to die, I can't bear to think about it. I adored her," Baker, 67, wrote.

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Several EastEnders stars also offered their condolences, including actress Danniella Westbrook, who said in a Wednesday tweet that she is "devastated" by the loss of her friend. "My condolences to her family 🙏🏻 may she Rest In Peace ❤️," Westbrook, 48, added.

Jake Wood also mourned Karen's death Wednesday on Twitter. "So sad to hear of the passing of Anna Karen," wrote the 49-year-old star. "Loved working with her, so funny and full of character RIP."

Rita Simmons chimed in as well, calling the news "horrific and awful and so so sad."

"I just heard the awful news about the wonderful Anna Karen," the 44-year-old actress wrote, adding, "She was one of the best. Sleep well lovely Anna. Sending all my love to her family and friends ❤️."

Officials are investigating what caused the fire.

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