Obituary Cornelia Frances: Aussie actress who played Morag from Home and Away, dies aged 77 - ' I've loved every soapie I've been on'

Veteran actress Cornelia Frances, who portrayed some of Australian television's most feisty and iconic characters, has died after a battle with cancer.

Cornelia Frances played Morag on Home and Away for many years. Source: Facebook/Cornelia Frances

The 77-year-old, who was nominated for a Logie six times in her long career, died in a Sydney hospital on yesterday.

Frances was best known for her roles playing villains on soap operas Home and Away, The Young Doctors, Sons and Daughters and Prisoner: Cell Block H, as well as hosting the quizz show The Weakest Link.

"I've always played the strong ladies," she told A Current Affair earlier this year.

"I'm going to fight it [the cancer], by God I am. That 60 years in the industry... it's been a wonderful road and I've loved every minute of it. I've loved every soapie I've been on."

Her son Lawrence posted a photo of his mother sleeping.

"A very personal photo of my mum during one of her resting moments, she is so peaceful, soft and serene," he wrote on yesterday morning.

"I truly love this woman."

The Seven Network said Frances died surrounded by family and friends.

"Her on screen presence inspired a generation of actors. This gift was coupled with an ability to bring a sense of dignity and presence into each room she entered," a company spokesperson said.

"Her energy and character will be missed."

Home and Away co-star Ray Meagher, who plays Alf, said the cast held a moment of silence for Frances on set  this morning.

"Cornie was an incredibly loved and valued member of our cast over many, many years," he told News Corp.

Actor Noel Hodda, who worked with Frances on Sons and Daughters as well as a play that toured England, also paid tribute.

"A stalwart of the Oz entertainment industry ... A great character who will be greatly missed," the actor tweeted.

Born Cornelia Frances Zulver on April 7, 1941 in Liverpool, England, she began her acting career in the UK before emigrating to Australia in 1970.

She became a household name while playing the hard-as-nails hospital enforcer Sister Grace Scott on the popular TV soap The Young Doctors, where she remained until 1978.

After a string of TV spots, she took on the role of Barbara Armstrong in Sons and Daughters between 1982 and 1986.

Two years later she was cast as Morag Bellingham in Home and Away - a role she played on-and-off for more than 25 years.

Between seasons, Frances hosted the Australian version of the The Weakest Link, starred in the series Always Greener, and provided the voice of the tortoise in the children's TV series Magic Mountain.