TRIBUTES have been paid to 'great actor' Dennis Waterman who died aged 74.

Waterman starred as bodyguard Terry McCann in Minder and he first found fame as tough nut cop George Carter in The Sweeney opposite John Thaw.

A statement from his family said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved Dennis, passed away very peacefully in hospital in Spain, on Sunday afternoon, with Pam by his side.

“The family kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”

Minder brought the criminal underworld of west London to millions of homes up and down the country.

READ MORE: Minder star Dennis Waterman dies aged 74

Fans of Dennis took to social media to remember a 'talented' man.

Juliana Shaw said: "RIP I loved te Sweeney."

Andy Herdman said: "Loved minder great actor."

Alex Lafferty said: "A great actor liked him in all his shows, especially New Tricks. Rip Dennis."

John Cloudsdale said: "So talented actor Rip Dennis."

Janet Cassley said: "RIP Denis waterman love to your family."

Jack the lad said: "So sad and so young!"

Wycme said: "I watched him in The Sweeney, Minder and New Tricks. Rest in peace Dennis."

Katrina Mcgregor said: "I met him many years ago he was with his group. He was nice. Great actor. Loved Minder and New Tricks."

Waterman’s extensive career also included numerous stints on the stage and he played Alfred Doolittle in a Royal National Theatre production of My Fair Lady, as well as starring in a tour production of Don’t Dress For Dinner.

The BBC’s chief content officer, Charlotte Moore, issued a statement on behalf of the corporation, saying: “We are incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Dennis Waterman, an unforgettable actor who will be missed by us all. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”