Former Eastenders star Leslie Grantham has terminal cancer and will die by Christmas, a pal claimed.
Neighbours of the 71-year-old actor who played hardman “Dirty” Den Watts in the BBC soap said he looked “gaunt” and “grey” when they saw him earlier this year.
Grantham appeared on Eastenders between 1985 to 1988 and 2003 to 2005 – with more than 30 million people tuned in to watch Den hand divorce papers to his wife Angie on Christmas Day 1986.
He moved to Bulgaria after splitting from his wife Jane in 2013 but returned to the UK and was living alone in a friend’s terraced home in St Margaret’s, Twickenham, west London, for the last few years.
The pal claimed Grantham moved out and returned to Bulgaria after his friend, named as Richard by locals, sold the house and moved to Eastbourne earlier this year.
A mother who rents the house privately said her family had moved in in April.
A cafe worker at nearby Ches’s said: “He was living at a friend’s house. The guy sold up only this year. We called him Richard.
“Les lived on his own.”
Locals also reported seeing the pensioner walking in the area looking “frail” and “gaunt” as recently as “four or five weeks ago”.
A 60-year-old painter who has lived in the area all his life said he last saw Grantham around April: “I painted the front of his house.
“He went over to Bulgaria to sell his flat. He won’t be coming back.
“Last time I saw him he looked dead.
“I said to him, ‘you alright Les?’. He said, ‘I’m fine’ but he looked dead to me from the outside he looked bad.
“He was positive about it all but once you get cancer…
“He was saying he had it. He said he had it and it went but it came back.
“He didn’t have much on him.
“When Richard went to Eastbourne Les said he wanted to with him but he said, ‘no you need a hospice’.
“I tell you the truth – it sounds nasty but the last time I saw him I told somebody go down to the bookmakers and place a bet he would be dead by Christmas.
“He was alone.”
Referring to Grantham’s decade behind bars from 1967 for the murder of a German taxi driver, the painter said: “What can I say – there’s nothing to say that hasn’t already been said.
“At the end of the day he killed someone anyway, he left someone without a son as well – we’ve got to take that into consideration.
“He shouldn’t have done what he done.”
Shop assistant Jancy Kar said Grantham used to buy cigarettes almost everyday from her corner shop but thought he had quit this year.