The shocking news took over Twitter but it appears to have been confirmed now by the BBC: Actress Elisabeth Sladen, who was best known for the role of Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who opposite two Doctors and not one but two spin-offs, has passed away today at the age of 63. The cause has not been confirmed yet, but reports suggest that she had been battling cancer. Our thoughts are with her husband Brian and daughter Sadie.
It remains to be seen what the BBC does about Sarah Jane Adventures, which I believe was already in production on a 5th series.
Russell T Davies added (via BBC reporter Lizo Mzimba): “I absolutely loved Lis. She was funny and cheeky and clever and just simply wonderful…The universe was lucky to have Sarah Jane Smith; the world was lucky to have Lis.”
Sarah Jane occupied most of my memories of Doctor Who when I was a kid. I first discovered the show early in Tom Baker’s run but I also saw a number of the Jon Pertwee episodes as well. She will be sorely missed.
The BBC has now released a full statement, with some nice words from those who worked with her.
I may continue updating this article as more information or more thoughts arrive.