Since it first aired way back in 1960, Coronation Street has seen countless characters come and go and it’s always a huge talking point when there’s a new arrival or an established character bids farewell.
In September 2021, the ITV soap said goodbye to one of its longest-serving characters in Norris Cole who tragically died off-screen.
Norris’s death comes more than a year after actor Malcolm Hebden last appeared as the character which has left a number of fans asking about his lengthy absence and if the actor is dead in real life.
Norris Cole’s death in Coronation Street
September 15th’s episodes began like any other as the various character got on with their respective days, chief among them being Corrie stalwarts Rita Tanner and Ken Barlow.
The duo are discussing old friend Norris Cole who had recently got in touch with them out of the blue to talk about some new gossip.
Norris had been living in a retirement home and his friends were unsure about his motives for contacting them but when they eventually do agree to see Norris, they learn the worst, he has been taken to hospital after suffering from a stroke.
In the second episode of the night, it’s revealed that Norris had passed away while unearthing details about a potential affair between Claudia and Charles.
The news leaves Ken and Rita crestfallen as their delay meant that they were unable to see Norris one last time before his death after 27 years on the soap.
Has Norris actor Malcolm Hebden passed away in real life?
No, Norris actor Malcolm Hebden has not passed away but his health was actually linked to his departure from Coronation Street last year.
According to the Express, Malcolm suffered a “silent heart attack” in 2017 and was left in a coma for three weeks after emergency surgery was carried out to save his life.
Malcolm reportedly dismissed early symptoms of the heart attack as a chest infection but a visit to his GP ended with him being rushed to hospital for a “groundbreaking” procedure.
Since the near-fatal incident, Malcolm returned to the Coronation Street cobbles on several occasions but he eventually called time on his acting career in January 2021.
His final on-screen appearance as fan-favourite Norris came on June 24th, 2020 after appearing in almost 1,700 episodes.
Fans react to Norris’s departure
After 27 years on the soap, Norris became a firm fan-favourite and so it’s no surprise that fans have been left distraught by the character’s sudden passing.
And finally, this viewer summed up their feelings in gif form:
Coronation continues each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on ITV while fans can catch up on any episodes missed via ITV Hub.