Much loved Australian actor Cornelia Frances has lost her battle with cancer.

The 77-year-old star of Home and Away is understood to have been surrounded by close family and friends when she died overnight in Sydney.

Frances was a veteran of Australian acting, having played Morag Bellingham on long-running soap Home and Away.

"Cornie was an incredibly loved and valued member of our cast over many, many years," Home and Away actor Ray Meagher, who played her on screen brother, Alf, said.

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"We had a moment of silence for her on set this morning and she'll be sadly missed by both cast and crew."

She also hosted Seven game show The Weakest Link.

Her other credits include Sons and Daughters, Prisoner, Young Doctors and Kingswood Country.

Channel 7 also paid tribute to the actor.

"Cornelia Frances was a unique person," a Seven spokeswoman said.

"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. Her energy and character will be missed."

Cornelia Frances, who played Morag Bellingham, and Peter Phelps, who was Alan Henderson in Summer Bay.
Cornelia Frances, who played Morag Bellingham, and Peter Phelps, who was Alan Henderson in Summer Bay.

Frances was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year before being told it had spread to her hip.

The actor spoke to The Sunday Telegraph from her Royal North Shore Hospital bed in January.

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"I swear I have had a hex placed on me for the past 12 months," she said.

"I discovered I had bladder cancer. This then spread to my hip bone which fractured, and then I almost died from loss of blood due to an ulcer in my throat. Despite all this, I am still here, as the old song goes."

At the time, Frances spoke of her hopes to return to acting as Ray "Alf" Meagher's evil sister Morag.

"I would dearly love to go back to Summer Bay but haven't heard anything as yet," she said.

Frances is survived by her son, Lawrence.